News & Current Affairs

September 28, 2008

Tourist kidnappers ‘shot dead

Tourist kidnappers ‘shot dead

Sudanese officials say their forces have shot and killed six of the kidnappers who abducted a group of European tourists in Egypt last week.

Two other suspected kidnappers have been taken into custody, but the tourists themselves remain in captivity in Chad, officials in Sudan said.

The hostages – 11 tourists and eight Egyptian guides – were taken on 19 September and are said to be unharmed.

They include five Germans, five Italians and a Romanian.

A spokesman for Sudan’s military told The Associated Press that the kidnappers were killed following a high-speed desert chase.

Sawarmy Khaled said the missing Europeans, who were abducted in Egypt but thought to have been taken first to Sudan and are now being held in neighbouring Chad.

Leader ‘dead’

Mr Khaled said the Sudanese military forces were near the Libyan border when they encountered a white sports utility vehicle carrying eight armed men, AP reported.

Gilf al-Kebir is a popular destination for adventurous tourists

“The armed forces called for it to stop, but they did not respond and there was pursuit in which six of the armed men were killed,” he said, adding that the group’s leader, who he identified as a Chadian named Bakhit, was among the dead.

The remaining two gunmen were captured and they confessed to being involved in kidnapping the tourists and their guides, who were on desert safari in southwest Egypt.

The tourists, who were seized while near Gilf al-Kebir in Egypt, are being held by 35 other gunmen in the Tabbat Shajara region of Chad, Mr Khaled added.

The shootings come as negotiations continue for the release of the hostages.

An Egyptian official told the AFP news agency that the kidnappers and German negotiators had agreed to a deal but that “negotiations were still ongoing to work out details.”

The kidnappers have demanded that Germany take charge of payment of an $8.8m ransom.

German officials have declined comment.

August 27, 2008

Sudanese plane hijacked in Darfur



Sudanese plane hijacked in Darfur



A Boeing 737 (generic image from Boeing website)

The plane is a Boeing 737

A Sudanese airliner hijacked shortly after take-off from Nyala, in Darfur region, has landed in Libya.

The plane was on its way to Khartoum, but has landed in the remote town of Kufra near the Libya-Sudan border, Sudanese aviation officials say.

The hijackers have asked for fuel to fly the plane, belonging to Sudanese airline Sun Air and with 95 people on board, to France.

Officials said members of a former Darfur rebel group were on the plane.

A Sudanese security official said a man with a knife had hijacked the plane, The Associated Press news agency reported.

Aviation officials said the plane, a Boeing 737, had landed at the Libyan oasis town of Kufra, in the desert near the border with Sudan.

Rebel denial

The three former rebels allegedly on board were originally said to be senior members of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Arkou Minnawi.


His group was the only one to sign a peace deal with the Khartoum government in 2006.

However, a spokesman for Minni Minnawi said his three associates had not taken part in the hijacking.

The AFP news agency then reported that the hijackers were members of a hard-line rebel group whose leader lives in France.

A five-year conflict in Darfur has left about 200,000 people dead and more than two million homeless.

Sudanese civil aviation officials told the BBC’s Amber Henshaw in Khartoum that the plane had landed in Libya.

Arabic satellite network al-Jazeera said the plane initially tried to land in Cairo, Egypt, where it was denied permission to land.

The desert Oasis of Kufra is in a remote region approximately 1,700km (1,050 miles) south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

It is an area close to both the Sudanese and Chadian borders, and is often used as a corridor for humanitarian aid for displaced Darfuri refugees in Chad, as well as a transit point into the country by illegal immigrants, says the BBC’s Rana Jawad, in Tripoli.

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