Posted: 6/11/2002 10:58:27 PM EDT
"Hijackers shot on Ethiopian Air
Addis Ababa - Two men, aged 20 and 22, who tried to hijack an internal Ethiopian Airlines flight were shot dead on Sunday by national security agents on board, Radio Ethiopia reported.
One of the plane's two stewards was slightly injured during the attempted hijacking, the official radio said quoting Ethiopian civil aviation security chief Bekretsion Habte.
The hijackers tried to seize a plane that had taken off from Bahir Dar in the northeast for Addis Ababa at 16:40 with 42 passengers on board. It finally completed its flight as scheduled, Habte said.
The men, identified as Tesfaouni Yeneabat (22) and Tewodros Mekonen (20), both from Bahir Dar, tried to seize the Fokker 50 half an hour into the flight and were shot dead by national security agents, Habte said.
"The attempted hijacking failed, one person was slightly injured - one of the two stewards," he told the radio.
"We do not know the two hijackers' motives," he added.
The pair, sitting in the centre of the aircraft, got up together after half an hour, and one headed for the pilots' cabin while the other moved toward the rear of the plane, shouting that they were hijacking it, Habte said.
They clashed with the stewards on the way. The security men then "took measures against the two men", he said.
National television showed the bodies on its evening newscast.
Passengers interviewed by state radio after the plane landed in Addis Ababa praised the response of the security agents.
"They wanted to take the lives of a lot of people. The agents' action was justified," said Ruth Berhanu, an Ethiopian resident in the United States who had just spent six weeks in Bahir Dar.
"I'm proud of the Ethiopian security," said another passenger, Abebaw Alemu, who agreed that the killing of the hijackers was appropriate. He also urged "great care during passenger searches before boarding".
In April 2001 an Ethiopian air force plane was hijacked after taking off from Bahir Dar to Khartoum, capital of neighbouring Sudan.
The five hijackers, who included two student officers, surrendered to Sudanese police and freed their 51 hostages.
Bahir Dar, 550km northeast of Addis Ababa, hosts an Ethiopian air force base and a university. - Sapa-AFP "
chalk two up for the Ethiopians
Does Ethiopia have any mountains? Would there be a way to jettison them off the aircraft?