The rescue of hostages abroad DC-9 Woyla

In 28th March 1981, Garuda Indonesian Arlines flight GA 206, by DC-9 “Woyla” was en route from Palembang to Medan, a domestic flight between two Indonesian cities. The plane has flown from Jakarta in 0800, transit in Palembang, then destinated to Medan, arrival time estimated 1055. In the air, two passangers took of from their seats. One went to the cockpit, one stood in the aisle. By 1010, Woyla is completely under control of five hijackers, all in firearms. The hijacker in the cockpit ordered the pilot to fly the plane to Colombo, Sri Lanka, but the pilot said that the fuel won’t be enough. Then the plane is flew to Penang, Malaysia. The terrorists are from Jihad Commando group, Moslem radicals that responsible for the raid of police stations, military bases, and various sabotages in Indonesia during 1977-1981.

In the midday, Indonesian government has been on red alert. Indonesia also never dealt with serious hijacking before. The first case ever was in 1974, when a desperate marine hijacked a domestic flight for money, then he was killed by the pilot himself.

In the evening, the newly created Indonesian’s Special Force, Kophasanda, has borrowed another DC-9 from Garuda Airlines and used it for combat training.

The plan itself wasn’t good. Woyla has left Malaysia after refueling, bound to Don Muang, Thailand. An old female passenger was allowed to go in Malaysia. The terrorists have declared their demand: The release of Jihad Commando’s that have been imprisoned by Indonesian government, and US $ 1.5 million. They also demand a plane is prepared for the released prisoners, to an unnamed-yet destination. They have bomb set on the plane.

Things get harder for the Kophasanda commander. He suspects that the plane will be flown to a state in Middle East. But as the plane has been relocated from Malaysia, the step was going further for him. Also, US Ambassador has called him and told him that US really counts on him to the safety of American citizens abroad the flight. In 2100, 29th March, 35 members of Kophasanda left Indonesia in a DC-10, all wearing civilian clothes.

Thailand government itself didn’t agree much on Indonesian choice to use military force. They preferred negotation, the same way that ended the taking of Israeli embassy in Bangkok by Black September terrorists back in 1972. Finally, they let the military way, considering that the owner of the aircraft is Indonesian government, and all the terrorists are Indonesian nationals, from a Moslem extrimist group. Even, CIA’s chief in Thailand met Kopashanda to lend them flak jackets and breaching kits.

In 31st March, 0230, an American journalist on the top of a bus surrounding Don Muang, woke his comrades, international journalists from Indonesia, US, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, West Germany, France, and Australia. From the bushes, 500 metres from Woyla, armed soldiers are walking in silent. They brought three ladders. The plan was, blue team and red team will climb the wings and wait at the side doors. The windows of the plane have been blinded. While green team will breach the rear door, all will enter at the same time at the go-code.

0243, Thailand commando team moves, waiting in the runway to prevent the possibility of escaping terrorists. 0243, the go code has given. The three teams enter, but not at the same time. Green team entered first, only to find that a terrorist is alert in the rear side of the plane. A bullet struck the belly of an anti-terrorist member, uncovered by flak jacket. The hijacker killed himself then. Then blue team and red team entered, shot two others terrorists on sight, as the passengers ducked and did nothing but close their eyes in the middle of cross fire. The commando team shouted to the passangers, telling them to rush out. A hijacker, with grenade in hand, also ran outside, tried to throw it. But other passengers pinpointed him and the commando team finished him before the front door. The last terrorist was killed outside the plane.
0245, Then paramedic rushed to the plane, to rescue the pilot. He was shot by a terrorist during the raid.

However, US reporters are not really unhappy in the next minute. The CT drama couldn’t become headlines, as one more great-scale thing for US just happened: President Ronald Reagan shot him.

All terrorist is killed, while the “green side” victims are the pilot of Woyla and an anti-terrorist member. Asian Wall Street Journal, as well as Asian and European papers praised the good work by Indonesian Special Force. Indonesian intellegence itself later declared that the main goal of the terrorists’ organization was to throw the government and to create an Islamic state in Indonesia. It is suspected that they have asked for support to Islamic Republic of Iran, as the leader of the hijacker (the one that killed the CT member then shot himself) has written a letter to Ayatollah Khomeini, behalf of the Indonesian Islamic Revolutionary Council, asking for aid from Iran.

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