Libyan aircraft Adrigiyah Airways 8U209, with 118 people on board has been proclaimed safe by the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as both the hijackers surrendered to authorities on the island of Malta.
The surrender came shortly after claims from the hijackers of having hand grenades and threatening to blow up the plane unless their demands were met.
The Airbus 320 flight, which took off from Sabha, a desert city in the south-western Libya was forced to divert to Malta, 350 kilometres away from the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Maltese PM took to twitter to post a series of tweets informing the world about the situation and finally at 20:00 hours IST made a final tweet saying,
“Hijackers surrendered, searched and taken in custody.”
According to Malta-based journalist Karl Stagno-Navarra said to Al-Jazeera that one of the hijackers had appeared at the door of the plane and waved a large green flag suggesting loyalty to late Libysn leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Navarra analysed this to be a gesture made not towards international terrorism, but internal feud that is still on-going in Libya.
As investigations go on and hijackers are being interrogated, information that has surfaced from the PM’s office are
- The weapons they had were replicas
- All passengers and crew members were released unharmed.
Sabha from where the flight started on its journey has been a center of political tribal violence where deadly clashes have erupted between Gaddafi and Suleiman tribes, the most powerful armed tribes in the region.
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