Sudanese spokesman: Saudi hijacker “unstable”
A Saudi man charged in Sudan with trying to hijack a plane to Jeddah appears to be mentally "unstable" rather than motivated by politics, a police spokesman said Wednesday.
The Saudi, Adel Nasser Ahmad Faraj, was overpowered by security personnel aboard a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane which he attempted to hijack with a pistol after takeoff from Khartoum on Tuesday, the airline and Sudanese police said. "It turned out from the interrogation that there was no political motive behind the hijack attempt and that Faraj was not a member of any political or Islamic organization," Major General Sayyed al-Hussein Osman told AFP.
In the course of the interrogation that lasted less than 24 hours, Faraj, aged 35, confessed to the crime and will immediately be taken to court to stand trial on charges of hijacking, Osman said.
Two Sudanese nationals have also been arrested in the case. A merchant in an Omdurman market allegedly sold the pistol used in the attempt and a Khartoum airport employee allegedly helped Faraj to evade security and smuggle the pistol onto the plane.
Osman said the pair confessed to their roles in the crime, though the merchant said he did not know what the accused would use the pistol for and the airport employee said the accused told him he bought it in Sudan to save money.
Both the merchant and the airport employee are to stand trial in Sudan, because they are Sudanese nationals, the spokesman added. Faraj will also stand trial in Sudan unless the Saudi authorities request his extradition, which the Sudanese authorities would be forced to grant under an agreement between the two countries.
In addition, the spokesman said the hijacker, whom he described as "apparently of an unstable mind", did not clearly identify the motive of his attempt to hijack the plane.
To show that Faraj had an unstable mind, the spokesman said that, during his stay at a hotel in the neighboring city of Omdurman, Faraj "at times recited the Holy Koran and at others he ran after pretty girls.
"Faraj said he had some problems that he wanted to announce to the media and at one point (during interrogation) he said he wanted to hijack the aircraft to London and at another point he said he wanted to take it to Doha, Qatar."
Osman said that during interrogation the hijacker had not corroborated Sudanese press reports that he had been planning to seek political asylum in Britain or Qatar. He said Faraj was overpowered by the plane's crew before he had a chance to say where he wanted the plane taken.
Meanwhile, the independent Akhbar Al-Youm daily, quoted an employee at Omdurman's Nile Hotel as saying the Saudi national checked in on October 7, never spoke to anyone and had never had a visitor.
Faraj would spend his mornings in front of the hotel waiting for an attractive young woman to pass by before he would follow her to her home and ask her family for permission to marry her, the employee told the daily.
On the day of the hijack attempt, Faraj took his room key with him and left the hotel without saying he was checking out and without paying his bill, the employee added. Faraj, born in Mecca, visited Sudan three times during the past six months and stayed in the same Nile Hotel for a total of around three months, according to the daily.
The hijacker denied any relationship or sympathy with al-Qaeda or any other extremist group, the daily added. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)