Good news. The Mv Albedo hostages are free along with 3 aid workers

The 11 sailors freed from the MV Albedo (credit: UNODC)
The 11 sailors freed from the MV Albedo (credit: UNODC)

(BRUSSELS2) The 11 sailors of the Mv Albedo, who were still hostages of the Somali pirates, are free. Or more exactly, they freed themselves according to the information disseminated by the UN.

7 Bengali sailors, 1 Indian, 1 Iranian and 2 Sri Lankans arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday (June 7) in a special plane chartered by the United Nations program against crime (UNODC). They were admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital for a checkup and treatment.

The circumstances of their release are not extremely clear. According to the official version, they managed to escape on Friday (June 6) through an open window and were later rescued by the armed forces of Galmudug (Somalia). they would then have arrived in a UN camp in Kenya, located near the Somali border, according to the Bengali daily daily sun.

The Bangladeshi government has denied paying any ransom. " It's a matter of principle. No government pays ransom in cases of piracy declared the Minister of Foreign Affairs, according to the Bengali daily Bangladesh Today.

1288 days of detention

The crew of Mv Albedo (a Malaysian-flagged vessel) was captured 900 miles from Mogadishu in November 2010 while en route from Dubai to the United Arab Emirates and Kenya. It originally numbered 23 men. 7 were released on August 1, 2012 (7 Pakistanis). 1 Indian died while in custody. And 4 Sri Lankans disappeared when their ship sank in July 2013 at the hands of pirates. The sailors were then brought ashore, to a pirate lair.

The end of a long ordeal

It's the end of a long ordeal for sailors. The conditions of detention were particularly trying for the crew who had been largely left to their fate. The owner of the ship (Malaysian) had disappeared and Malaysia refused to take responsibility for it. " After 1288 days in captivity, we are thrilled for them and their families after the ordeal and hardship they have endured. expressed Peter Swift, the head of MHRP, the humanitarian response program on maritime piracy. One of the Pakistanis released in 2012 had mentioned the harsh living conditions and even the use of torture to which they were subjected by their captors. The pirates we have struck Many times with pipes et with the butt of their AK-47 rifles. They also used pliers for to tear out the skin on the palms sailors » explained Mujtaba. " All of this men are not human. When they hit us, they wouldn't stop. They hit us on the head. Some officers had severe bleeding on the head. One could not use one's hand left, damaged during a beating. » (read in The National).

The 3 workers of the NGO "Ias" shortly after their capture in 2012 (credit: IAS)
The 3 workers of the NGO “Ias” shortly after their capture in 2012 (credit: IAS)

Aid workers freed

It should be noted that three Kenyan humanitarian workers, hostages for almost 2 years, were released on Thursday (June 5). Janet Muthoni Kanga, Martin Mutisya Kioko and Abdinoor Dabaso Bor worked for the American NGO International Aid Services.

They were driving in Galcayo in Puntland on July 11, 2012 when they were captured by armed men. Several Puntland police officers who were protecting them were injured in the action, as well as another aid worker who had not been kidnapped. The kidnappers proclaimed themselves Somali pirates. The exact circumstances of their release have not been revealed. Upon their release, “the hostages were taken to a safe place until they were transported to Nairobi, with the assistance of the United Nations and the Government of Galmudug “says the NGO. They underwent routine medical examinations, and in the circumstances, in " pretty good health She adds.

For the duration of their captivity, the IAS crisis management team " was able to speak to hostages on a number of occasions, and was able to arrange delivery of food and materials from time to time ". She has also " discussed with several people claiming to be the hostage takers. But in most cases, — she points out — the callers were quickly identified as fraudsters ". After " Long discussions were undertaken with the real kidnappers which led to their release. ».

Another 39 pirate hostages

According to the latest report released by the European anti-piracy forces, and the B2 “Pirates” database, there are still 39 sailors in the hands of pirates: the 4 Thai sailors from the Prantalay 12 (another Thai ship) detained for more than 4 years!, 7 Indian sailors from the Asphalt Venture (captured in September 2010!) and 28 Taiwanese, Filipino, Indonesian, Chinese and Vietnamese hostages from FV Naham 3 (a Thai vessel). It's not about forgetting them...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).