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


Why Kiir can only be ousted!! 2014-08-28 04:40:56 “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemy, but the silence of our friend,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By Luk Kuth Dak August 27, 2014 - Any writer or a columnist will tell you (...)

The travesty of the IGAD peace process for South Sudan 2014-08-28 04:38:02 By Amir Idris August 27, 2014 - The recent Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) heads of state and government summit held in Addis Ababa on 25th August, 2014 proposed a regional (...)

Views beyond the recent Paris Declaration 2014-08-24 21:10:17 By: Elhadi Idriss Yahya August 24, 2014 - Did the leader of Sudan’s opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Sadiq al-Mahdi finally acknowledge the existence of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) (...)


MORE








Latest Press Releases


National Dialogue in Sudan: Past experiences and current challenges 2014-08-27 06:18:22 Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG) Since independence, Sudan has undergone a number of national peace agreements, some of which were observed and honored for short periods, others which were (...)

A new approach to the National Dialogue will stop war and lead to democracy in Sudan 2014-08-22 06:50:30 A New Approach to the National Dialogue in Sudan that will Stop the Wars, Address the Humanitarian Crisis and Lead to Democratic TransformationChatham House, London on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 (...)

Friends and Diaspora of South Sudan urge leaders to choose peace 2014-08-19 20:29:59 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Esther Sprague, Founder & Director, Sudan Unlimited 415.713.2495, esprague11@yahoo.com FRIENDS AND DIASPORA OF SOUTH SUDAN URGE LEADERS TO CHOOSE PEACE UNSC (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2014 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.