Six Yemeni Security Officials Arrested in Hijack Probe

Published January 25th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Six Yemeni security officials in Sanaa airport have been arrested as part of the investigation into Tuesday's hijacking of a domestic flight of Yemenia airlines to Djibouti, police said Thursday. 

The investigation was focusing on how Mohammad Yahya Ali Sattar managed to board the Yemenia Boeing 727 armed with a pen-pistol which he used to hijack the plane to Djibouti, police said. 

Two Sanaa municipality workers have also been quizzed by the police, who have revealed that the Yemeni hijacker had closed his bank account on January 8. 

A Yemeni airforce Antonov plane left for Djibouti Thursday to fly the hijacker back to Yemen. 

Sattar is accused of commandeering a domestic Yemenia flight in an attempt to divert it to Baghdad with the US ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine and 90 other passengers on board. 

The pilot convinced him that the plane needed to refuel in Djibouti, and the crew overpowered the hijacker once the plane had landed and all of the passengers had exited the aircraft using the emergency slides. 

A commission of enquiry consisting of Interior Minister Hussein Mohamed Arab and security chief Ghaleb Mothar would interrogate Sattar on his return, a Yemeni official told AFP Wednesday. 

In 1998, Yemen stiffened the penalties for kidnapping. Those found guilty can face the death penalty, particularly if hostages are hurt or killed -- SANAA (AFP) 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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