Jetliner hijacking ends peacefully

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Two hijackers who commandeered a jetliner from Sudan’s Darfur region and diverted it to a remote desert airstrip in Libya surrendered and freed all hostages after a daylong standoff, officials said.

Sudan’s consul in the Sahara desert oasis of Kufra, where the plane landed, said the two Darfur men were brought into the airport’s VIP lounge. Also freed were crew members whom the hijackers had continued to hold even after releasing 87 passengers earlier.

The diplomat, Mohammed Balla Othman, who spoke to the Associated Press by telephone from the VIP room, said that in the last stages of negotiations, the hijackers were asking for asylum in Libya. It was unclear whether the Libyans granted the request.