Passengers of hijacked Libyan plane arrive safely in Tripoli from Malta
A picture taken on December 23, 2016 shows a group of hostages being released in Valletta, Malta, from the Afriqiyah Airways A320 after it was hijacked from Libya. (AFP/Matthew Mirabelli)
Passengers of a Libyan plane, which was hijacked and forced to land in Malta the day before, arrived in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Saturday, Libya's state news agency LANA reported.
The passengers looked healthy as they disembarked an Afriqiyah Airways airliner that had transported them from Malta, the agency added.
Several government officials welcomed the passengers on their arrival at Mitiga airport in eastern Tripoli.
The agency did not specify the number of the arrivals.
An Afriqiyah Airways jet with 111 passengers and a six-member crew was hijacked on Friday when it was on a domestic flight from Sebha in southern Libya to Tripoli.
The two Libyan hijackers forced the Airbus A320 to divert to Malta.
After a four-hour drama on the Mediterranean island, the hijackers surrendered and all the passengers and crew left the aircraft unharmed.
The Maltese government later revealed that the hijackers had used fake weapons.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat rejected media reports that the hijackers had asked for asylum in his country.
Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 overthrow of long-time autocrat Moamer Gaddafi in an armed revolt.
The oil-rich country is divided between two rival administrations: One backed by the United Nations in Tripoli and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk.