Mexico suffered yesterday what has been called a “terrorist act” carried out by a Bolivian fanatic, involving the hijacking of an airliner, bomb threats and no physical violence whatsoever. No hostages were harmed and no shots were fired.
Allegedly, the Bolivian hijacker was unarmed and acted under the belief his accomplices were “the Son and the Holy spirit”.
Although some Mexican nationals (keen on conspiracy theories) don’t buy the story and think this plot was crafted by the government to divert attention from increase of taxes and changes in the President’s team announced earlier this week, the official position is “a rather sensitive situation was handled smoothly by the security forces”.
September 10th, 2009
(Images by yahoo)
Here’s the whole story, published by yahoo.co.uk:
Priest on ‘divine mission’ hijacks Mexican plane
2 hours 12 mins ago
A Protestant priest who hijacked a Mexican plane mid-air with 104 people on board, triggering a brief airport drama, claimed he was on a divine mission, officials said.
Bible-carrying Jose Mar Flores Pereira, 44, was said by Mexican officials to have hijacked the Aeromexico Boeing 737 after it left from the popular tourist resort of Cancun on a flight to the capital.
All the passengers — most of whom had no idea they had allegedly been taken hostage — were safely evacuated in Mexico City as security forces swarmed the capital’s international airport within minutes of the plane landing.
The airline said it was originally alerted to the situation after it “received a bomb threat while in flight,” according to a statement.
The initial media reports involving multiple hijackers carrying explosives were later denied by Transport Secretary Juan Francisco Molinar Horcasitas, who confirmed there was no bomb found on the plane.
While Flores Pereira acted alone, Mexican officials said they originally arrested five other people following the alleged hijacker’s indication he was acting with accomplices, referring to “himself (the Father), the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
After being taken into custody Flores Pereira told authorities he had wanted to protect the country after he “had a revelation that Mexico was facing a great danger, and was threatened by an earthquake,” public security official Genaro Garcia Luna told reporters.
The priest, brought out for questioning by the media, told reporters his act was linked to Wednesday’s date — September 9, 2009 — because the numbers 9/9/9 were the opposite of 6/6/6 the numbers associated with the AntiChrist.
Flores Pereira had demanded to fly over the airport “seven times” and to speak with President Felipe Calderon, Garcia Luna said.
Calderon canceled his afternoon meetings to head to the sprawling airport.
The alleged hijacker was also said to be a former prisoner and drug addict from Bolivia, who has lived in Mexico for 17 years.
Sources in La Paz confirmed Flores Pereira was of Bolivian nationality, and recounted that Mexican authorities had said he “apparently suffers some sort of mental disorder.”
Thirty foreigners were among the passengers, according to diplomatic sources: 18 Americans, five Canadians, three French, three Bolivians, two Spaniards and a German.
“We only learned about it when we landed and we informed by the crew over the radio that we had been hijacked,” said passenger Rodrigo Padilla. “Everything was very quiet, there were no guns, no shots were fired.”
In less than an hour, the drama had been brought to an end.
“We intervened in this crisis and all the passengers were taken to safety. The security forces are now carrying out the necessary investigations,” Horcasitas said.
None of the hijackers had been able to enter the plane’s cockpit during the flight, neither “were they able to compromise the aircraft’s safety,” he added.
The US State Department said it was checking to see if any Americans were on board the hijacked flight and was seeking to obtain the manifest.
Television images showed chaotic scenes as the passengers, most dressed in shorts and T-shirts, descended from the plane, some carrying young children and clutching bags.
They were briefly made to sit on the tarmac by security forces, before being led away. The last to leave the plane was the captain, who had negotiated the release of the passengers with a woman air controller.
It was the first time the airline had suffered a hijacking since 1972, when leftist guerrillas seized one of its planes demanding the release of some of their fellow rebels. The release of the passengers was negotiated.
The last hijacking in the region was in April in Jamaica, when an armed man took over a CanJet Boeing 737 due to fly from Montego Bay to Cuba. All 182 people on board were rescued unharmed when Jamaican police stormed the plane.