|HOME | NEWS | REPORT|
December 25, 1999
4 Kathmandu airport officials arrested for helping hijackers
The Nepalese authorities have arrested four officials connected with security functions at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. They include a deputy superintendent of police, in charge of overall security at the TIA -- Nepal's only international air terminal. These persons have allegedly helped the hijackers.
The Nepali authorities on Saturday also suspended all security and customs staff on duty at the airport on Friday afternoon who had supervised the departure formalities of the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight IC 814.
The suspensions were likely to remain in force for at least another fortnight by when a high-level probe, set up by the government on Saturday, was expected to come up with its findings regarding the ''security lapses, if any'' that had occurred at the TIA enabling the hijackers of the IA Kathmandu-Delhi flight to board it carrying ''sophisticated arms and other weapons,'' the spokesman said.
Earlier, the Nepali cabinet, presided over by Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, met on Friday night in an emergency session to express ''grave concern'' over the hijacking of the Airbus 300 carrying at least 189 people on board and condemn ''this dastardly act of terrorism.''
Premier Bhattarai on Saturday talked over the phone to Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during which both ''exchanged views'' on the hijacking incident, the advisor to the Nepalese PM, Narayan Khadka, said.
Meanwhile, according to the Assistant Minister for Civil Aviation Narayan Singh Pun, the authorities in Kathmandu had received ''a global warning'' three-and-a-half months ago that any plane could be hijacked or blown up ''in any part of the world'' and subsequently security had been ''beefed up'' at TIA. And in endeavouring to give the TIA's security apparatus a clean chit, Pun pointed out that the Airbus-300 had, in fact, originated its flight from Calcutta during the day and arrived at Kathmandu from New Delhi. ''The arms, supposedly with the hijackers, could have been placed anywhere in the aircraft and not necessarily at Kathmandu...''
However, security experts in Kathmandu do not give much credence to Pun's statement and recall TIA's abysmal security-record.
Only some months back, an unauthorised person had successfully evaded all security cordons in the airport and was detected only after he was firmly ensconced in the pilot's cockpit of a Thai International aircraft parked on the tarmac.
Friday's hijacking of the IA flight IC-814 was only the second in Nepal's fifty-year-long aviation history and the first of a scheduled international flight.
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK