TITLE=PLANE HIJACKING (L-UPDATE)
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 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
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
28-Dec-1999 12:32 PM EDT (28-Dec-1999 1732 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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