Home | News    Tuesday 18 February 2014

Ethiopian passenger jet hijacked in Sudanese airspace

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

February 17, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) - An Ethiopian co-pilot on Monday sought asylum in Switzerland after he hijacked an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane en route from Addis Ababa to Rome via Khartoum.

JPEG - 20.2 kb
Swiss police evacuate passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737, which was hijacked en route from Addis Ababa to Rome on Monday (AFP)

The hijacker, identified as Hailemedhin Abera, took control of the plane after locking the cockpit shortly after the captain left the flight deck to use the toilet.

According to the Ethiopian government, the hijacking drama began while the plane was in Sudanese airspace.

Once in Italian airspace, Abera, diverted the plane’s route to the Swiss capital, Geneva, where he subsequently asked for asylum.

According to media reports, Abera descended to the tarmac after landing, using a rope thrown from the cockpit window.

Abera admitted he had carried out the hijacking under subsequent questioning by Swiss police.

He claimed to have force-landed the plane in Geneva for fear of prosecution in Ethiopia, without providing further details.

Speaking at a news conference later the same day, Ethiopia’s information minister, Redwne Hussein, thanked the Swiss government for facilitating the plane’s safe landing.

He said the hijacker could face at least 20 years behind bars for hijacking and hostage-taking.

Both Ethiopia and Switzerland are signatory to the international convention on aircraft hijacking, with Abera expected to be extradited to his home country face the charges.

In cockpit recordings shortly after landing, the hijacker is heard asking for asylum, as well as seeking assurances from Swiss authorities he would not be transferred to Ethiopia.

Swiss police said the man was unarmed and did not behave in a threatening or violent manner towards passengers, who were reportedly unaware a hijacking was in progress until landing in Geneva, where the plane was swiftly surrounded by police.

One Ethiopian Airline official told Sudan Tribune that passengers didn’t notice the hijacking drama going on behind the scenes, as crew sought to prevent causing any panic among passengers.

According to the official, 193 passengers were on board the 767-300 Boeing aircraft at the time, including 140 Italians, 11 Americans and 10 Ethiopians.

The hijacking incident is the first to occur in the flag carrier’s recent history, which is among the largest and most successful on the African continent.

(ST)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article


 
 

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


A path toward wealth and security: Investing in the health of Africa’s people 2016-08-28 10:17:30 By Jim Yong Kim Africa needs much more investment from the private sector to build its roads, energy and communications infrastructure. But for countries to make the most use of that (...)

South Sudan, a year after peace agreement 2016-08-20 21:39:17 By Beny Gideon Mabor “Our detractors have already written us off, even before the proclamation of our independence. They say we will slip into civil war as soon as our flag is hoisted. They (...)

Sudan Crisis: Who would be accountable for? 2016-08-18 09:11:56 A case sufficiently exposed, squarely tabled but evasively torpedoed with ulterior motives By Trayo Ahmed Ali As Sudan National Dialogue "roadmap" (proposed by the AUHIP Panel) was signed in (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Sudanese students, activists are at risk of torture: HRW 2016-05-25 14:40:51 Human Rights Watch Sudan: Students, Activists at Risk of Torture Free Detainees; Investigate Abuses (Nairobi, May 25, 2016) – Sudanese national security officials have detained dozens of (...)

South Sudan: Civilians Killed, Tortured in Western Region 2016-05-24 22:01:01 Human Rights Watch For Immediate Release South Sudan: Civilians Killed, Tortured in Western Region Provide Justice for Army Abuses in Western Regions (Nairobi, May 24, 2016) – South Sudanese (...)

Open Letter to President Salva Kiir and 1st Vice President Dr. Riek Machar 2016-04-18 12:36:12 South Sudan Women United April 15, 2016 Your Excellencies: South Sudan Women United writes to congratulate you both on the steps you are taking towards ending violence in South Sudan and (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2016 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.