Three heavily armed Somali soldiers hijacked a Somali jetliner with 130 persons aboard yesterday, beating the pilot and wounding a security guard in a midair gun battle, reports here said.
The hijackers directed the Somali Airlines Boeing 707 to Addis Ababa, where they apparently released some passengers and then threatened to blow up the plane and the remaining hostages unless their demands were met, The Associated Press reported.
The Ethiopian News Agency said the demands included release of political prisoners in Somalia and stays of execution for seven young men scheduled to die today for political crimes against the government in Somalia.
A British Broadcasting Corp. report said three crew members and 19 passengers, including 15 women and four children, had been freed after the plane landed at Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital.
The aircraft was on a flight from Mogadishu, the Somali capital, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, via Berbera in northern Somalia, when it was commandeered.
A British Royal Air Force flight crew that overheard radio traffic between the hijacked plane and the Addis Ababa control tower said it heard the pilot say the hijackers were part of a Somali political resistance group.
Two main insurgent groups, the Somali Democratic Salvation Front and the Somali National Movement, have been fighting to topple the government of Somali President Mohammed Siad Barre, who took power in a military coup in 1969.