- West Africa
Nigerian sailors seized by Somali pirates released
They had been in captivity for ten months
Nigerian sailors captured by Somalian pirates have been released after ten months in captivity. A group of government delegates have been dispatched to Yemen to facilitate the return of the freed sailors. The pirates demanded a one million dollar ransom, but it is not clear if any ransom has been paid.
The sailors were captured in August 20088, and freed on Friday and have been receiving medical care, Chijioke Wigwe, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Kenya and Seychelles, has confirmed.
The government had set up a committee headed by retired Maj.-Gen. Sarki Mukhtar, the National Security Adviser, to coordinate efforts on the release of the ship but the ship owned by ESL Integrated Services Ltd, was never released.
Foreign Minister, Ojo Maduekwe has been quoted as saying:"The fact that Nigeria did not publicize its efforts to rescue the crew did not mean it has been folding its arms."
The release of the Nigerian sailors comes a few weeks after a leader of a Somali group of pirates, Mr. Abshir Abdullah, has assured Somalia and the international community that the era of pirate activities are over.
Over 200 Somali pirates have renounced piracy and criminal activities since May, 2009.
Piracy in Somalia has flourished because the country has been without a stable government since 1991. Pirates have been under pressure from local leaders, who have accused them of damaging their communities.