Freed Hostages Say They Were Unaware Two Passengers Killed With PM-Hijack, Bjt
LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) _ Some of the hostages released by the Arab hijackers of a Kuwaiti jumbo jet said they were well treated during eight days in captivity and did not know their captors had killed two passengers.
The hostages were among 12 freed Tuesday in Larnaca, just hours before the Kuwaiti Airways Boeing 747 left with about 35 other hostages and six to eight Moslem Shiite hijackers for Algeria, where the plane landed early today.
″We were not beaten. We were not harassed. They treated us very nicely,″ said Sherif Mahbojh Badrawi said, a Cairo-based ticketing agent for Kuwait Airways. Badrawi and other passengers spoke to reporters in Larnaca General Hospital. Like other freed hostages, he looked tired as he sat on a bed.
″I didn’t see them harming anyone,″ said Badrawi.
″The only time we felt scared was when we went to the bathroom or wanted a drink because they had pistols pointed at our head whichever way we went. We were all kept in the center of the plane.″
The hijackers killed two Kuwaiti hostages on Saturday and Monday, dumping their bodies on the Larnaca airport tarmac. The plane had been at Larnaca for five days.
Mohammed Kamel Sayyid Rehan, a 32-year-old Egyptian who works as a caterer for the airline, also said he and his fellow hostages were treated well.
He said none of the passengers was aware of the killings.
Rehan was returning from a three-day holiday in Thailand when the plane was seized April 5 on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, to Kuwait. He asked several times how he could get in touch with his wife and four children.
Most of the 12 passengers freed Tuesday wore pajamas as they sat or lay on beds at the hospital, some with intravenous tubes in their arms.
Dr. George Olympios, who examined the 12, said they appeared healthy.
″No one is in a grave condition,″ Olympios said. ″Most are in good health but are staying for observation; nothing serious apart from fatigue.″
″There were marks on the wrists of most of them,″ apparently from plastic strips used for binding, he said.
Badrawi and Rehan said they could not give a precise number of hijackers, but that all were well armed.
″We saw all kinds of arms,″ Badrawi said. ″They had automatic rifles, grenades, pistols. We always saw them in pairs. I saw six all together once. They would cover their heads.″
″We saw many weapons,″ Rehan said. ″I also saw mines.″
Saadi Yousef Quttaineh, a 60-year-old Jordanian who lives in Kuwait with his family of six, said: ″I was relaxed all the time, except in the beginning I was a bit afraid.
″They would move us from one place to another, all together in a group. We received good treatment. We got enough water and food.″
Badrawi described the hijackers as ″good Moslems.″
He said they ″spoke to us in a very Koranic language,″ using phrases and words common to the Moslem holy book. ″They were always using verses from the Koran.″