UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Friday, August 3, 301 AP.

President "looking seriously" at hijacker demands

President Okarvits is now looking seriously at the demands of the paramilitaries
holding hostage 182 passengers and crew aboard a Aij Utani passenger jet
after three weeks of the crisis.

The passenger jet was taken hostage on Sunday July 8th, and while one woman
has been killed in an escape attempt, there has otherwise been no other violence
against the passengers and crew. President Okarvits initially told the Utanian
negotiators that there would be "no deal" with the terrorists, but signs are showing
that the President is preparing to "cut a deal".

According to one anonymous source in the Presidential Complex in Utan Krysaror,
the President is looking at ways to end the almost four-week old crisis. He is said
to be "looking closely" at the demands by the hijackers, specifically the release of
the "prisoners of war" that Utanian troops captured in the early-June "invasion".
He is reported to be "not considering" the payment of "war reparations" to the
hijacker group.

The paramilitaries are demanding some Û3 million from the Utanian government,
which some believe will only be used to continue the paramilitary war against
ethnic-Utani living in South Bay. Leaks from the Presidential Complex, as well as
investigations into the conflict are revalling that the Utani, of the Ramal tribe, appear
to be fighting a guerilla war against the paramilitaries who have Army support, for
reasons unknown.

When contacted for comment, Ramal-Utani leaders condemned the President's
decision to "even consider" handing back the POWs or negotiating with the
Paramilitary group.

"For what they have done to the Utani people in South Bay, there should be no
consolation", said one Ramal-Utani leader.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)