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VALLETTA, Malta – A Libyan official says the migrants who commandeered an oil tanker that had rescued them in the Mediterranean Sea used metal tools to threaten the crew, forcing them to direct the ship toward Europe.
Maltese armed forces stormed the vessel Thursday and detained five men suspected of leading the hijacking operation, taking them away in handcuffs. In all, 100 migrants were on the ship, including woman and many minors.
Brig. Gen. Ayoub Gassim, the Libyan coast guard spokesman, said Friday the El Hiblu 1 cargo ship rescued the migrants in the middle of the night.
He said Wednesday morning, "when the sun rose and the migrants realized that they are returning to Libya, some of them rebelled, and used workshop metal tools in threatening the crew to change the route and head north."