Two Libyan men who hijacked a plane from Libya to Malta and threatened to blow it up have surrendered peacefully, allowing 118 passengers and crew to leave the aircraft before walking out alongside the last of the crew.
Officials said two hijackers aboard the plane that was forced to land in Malta on Friday, threatened to blow up the aircraft with grenades.
The domestic flight – Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 was hijacked after taking off from Sabha, bound for the Libyan capital Tripoli but instead was diverted to Malta International Airport.
It appears the two hijackers are supporters of Libya’s late deposed leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Etienne Saint John, a spokesman for Malta’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Malta’s armed forces led the negotiations with the hijackers as they started allowing the passengers as well as crew members to leave the plane earlier.
According to CNN, John said: “They have grenades and are threatening to blow up the plane. No words on their demands yet”.
“The Foreign Affairs Ministry is waiting for the passenger manifest. The safety of the passengers is of the utmost importance.”
While it is unclear who exactly the hijackers are, Sabha has been a center for political tribal violence.
Deadly clashes still erupt there between tribes loyal to Gadhafi and anti-Gaddafi groups.