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DATE=12/28/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PLANE HIJACKING (L-UPDATE) NUMBER=2-257568 BYLINE=AYAZ GUL DATELINE=KANDAHAR INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: In Kandahar, Afghanistan, officials from India continue their talks with the hijackers of an Indian airliner with 160-people on board. The plane has been parked on the runway in Kandahar for four days. From the southern Afghan city, Ayaz Gul reports no details of the talks are available. TEXT: Members of an Indian delegation have been negotiating almost continuously with the hijackers of the Indian airliner. Officials of the Taleban movement and Indian diplomats are tight-lipped about the talks. The U-N special envoy for Afghanistan, Erick de Mul, had tried to negotiate with the captors before the Indian delegation arrived in the city Monday, but his efforts were unproductive as the hijackers insisted they wanted direct negotiations with the Indian government. The gunmen had threatened to kill the passengers unless India agreed to negotiate with them. Mr. De Mul has left Kandahar for Pakistan. The plane's 160-passengers and crew have been trapped on the Indian airliner for nearly five-days. They are said to be suffering because of the deteriorating conditions inside the plane. A Taleban official quotes the pilot as saying that all the people on board are stressed and exhausted. Local and Indian officials say Tuesday the hijackers accepted food for the passengers. The officials said the captors refused food Monday. Early Tuesday, the engines on the plane, which had been continuously running since Saturday stopped working. The engines control lighting, heating, and cooling for the plane. Nighttime temperatures in Kandahar fall below freezing. The hijackers agreed to a request by Indian negotiators to allow an Indian engineer on to the plane to fix the problem. Taleban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed says, as a guarantee for the safety of the engineer one of the hijackers came out of the plane and was placed in a nearby vehicle while the Indian expert did his work. The hijacker's face was covered with a black mask. By early evening the aircraft engines were turned on and lights were visible inside the plane. Five hijackers armed with grenades, pistols, and knives, seized the plane Friday during a scheduled flight from Nepal to India. The hijackers are linked to a Kashmiri separatist group and are demanding the release of several colleagues who are in Indian jails. Most of the hostages are Indian nationals. Other passengers are from Italy, Japan, Spain, Canada, France, Australia, and Switzerland. Diplomats from some of these countries are in Kandahar to assess the situation. (SIGNED) NEB/AG/RAE 28-Dec-1999 12:32 PM EDT (28-Dec-1999 1732 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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