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Colombian plane with 25 aboard hijacked

September 13, 2005 02:04 IST

A Colombian airliner with 25 people, including a congressman, aboard was hijacked on Tuesday, authorities said.

The Aires airlines flight had departed the southern city of Florencia for a flight to Bogota when it was hijacked by two people armed with grenades, sad Gen Edgar Lesmez, the Colombian Air Force chief.

The plane landed in Bogota, but at a military airfield next to the capital's civilian El Dorado Airport.

Authorities were in contact with the hijackers, believed to number two, Lesmez said. There were 20 passengers and 5 crew reportedly aboard the plane.

"We're beginning our initial contacts with these hijackers to see if there is a solution," Lesmez said.

The hijackers said they wanted to speak with a representative of a human rights organization, a priest and a delegate from the Colombian attorney general's office, Lesmez told reporters.

Among those aboard the plane was Colombian Congressman Antonio Serrano, his assistant Consuelo Barragan told RCN TV.

Gen Alberto Ruiz, chief of operations of the Colombian National Police, said the hijackers did not appear to belong to any of Colombia's illegal armed groups.

"They seem to be common citizens," Ruiz told reporters.

It was the second hijacking of a plane flying that route for the airline. In February 2002, members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, hijacked an Aires flight, forced it to land on a highway and kidnapped a Colombian senator who was aboard.

Jorge Gechen Turbay, president of the Colombian Senate's peace commission, remains a FARC hostage.

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