Passengers aboard a Gaborone bound South African Airways (SAA) flight on Thursday morning were left shell shocked when Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) operatives stormed into the aeroplane to arrest a rowdy suspect of Asian origin at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
According to an eyewitness account, drama started when they were about to board their flight to Botswana at OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa, when security agents arrived with sniffer dogs and demanded to search passengers. “We were shocked to see the officers as the dogs were all over us and one passenger of Asian origin was very uncooperative,” said the passenger who said after an extended search they were allowed to board the SAA flight.
It was not clear what the motive for the search was as even the uncooperative passenger was allowed to board. Drama started to unfold when the flight was midair as the rowdy passenger started to empty contents of his bags in the aisle and moving up and down scaring off other passengers. “I started thinking of terrorists and that he might kill us as he was furious and speaking in Arabic language which most of us didn’t understand,” said the passenger who was still visibly shaking.
The 45-50 minutes flight from Johannesburg to Gaborone seemed like eternity for passengers as they feared for their lives. Upon arrival at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) at around 0900 hours, passengers were ordered to vacate the plane while the rowdy passenger was told to remain seated. “Plain clothes officers boarded the plane and arrested him. He was resisting arrest, fighting them as he was handcuffed and whisked away,” said the witness.
Passengers of the SAA were then transported to their destinations in a courtesy bus due to the inconvenience. Intelligence sources have revealed that the suspect is was detained and questioned by intelligence agents. “We were alerted by our counterparts in South Africa about his strange behaviour at OR Tambo Airport but they found nothing on him. Only for him to continue with his strange behaviour on board and flight crews alerted us,” said a source, who refused to state the nationality of neither the suspect nor where he came from.
SSKIA acting operations Manager Daniel Segokgo and SSKIA Police Station deputy commander Mosothwane said they were not aware of the incident. DISS Director Isaac Kgosi said that they do not discuss their operations with a third party as they deal with sensitive issues of national security. “We will let you know if the suspect appears in court. As for now I cannot comment on the issue,” he said.