In an interview to Voice of America (VOA), Salim Osman, the captain of the Indian boat hijacked by Somali pirates, said that the pirates had held captive eight of the crew, on land. The crew was then released in a security operation on Wednesday near the village of Dugulle in the Mudug region.
Osman was riding a vehicle with the mayor of Hobyo, Abdullahi Ahmed Ali when VOA’s Somali service spoke to him. He expressed his happiness on being free.
The captain, who belongs to Gujarat, also said that the pirates separated the crew just three days after the hijack, according to the VOA report.
Somali security forces rescued the hijacked Indian cargo on Monday along with two crew members who were left behind, according to Reuters.
Ali told VOA that the security forces caught hold of four pirates who had detained crew members after moving them from their boat.
According to Osman, the pirates attacked Al Kausar while it was moving from Dubai to Bosaso on 1 April. Earlier reports had suggested that the boat was headed towards Kismayo.
Talking about his experience in captivity, Osman said that the pirates did not mistreat them, but the major difficulty was procuring food and drinks.
VOA quoted Osman as saying:
No person hit me, but we have not eaten for three days, two days, no drinking. We have been in the jungle. Jungle does not have any food, and not any water. (sic)
Osman also told VOA that the pirates asked for money and even spoke about the release of suspected Somali pirates in Indian jails. He added that the pirates were tired of being chased by securities.
Recalling his 13-year sailing experience from UAE to Somalia, Osman said this was the first time that his ship was attacked by pirates. When asked if he would continue sailing, Osman said he would take a year off and then decide.
His wife and 18-month-old daughter live in Gujarat, VOA reported.
Somali forces had freed eight sailors on Wednesday, who had been held captive by pirates. MEA Sushma Swaraj extended gratitude to Somalia for their efforts in the operation.
I am happy to inform that 10 Indian nationals working as crew on MV AL Kausar which was hijacked by pirates have been rescued. /1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 12, 2017
We thank Federal Government of Somalia, Galmudug state authorities and people of Somalia for their help and cooperation. /2— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 12, 2017
I appreciate Ms.Suchitra Durai, our High Commissioner in Kenya for her good work. /3— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) April 12, 2017
Maritime experts have cautioned against the increase in piracy in Somalian waters due to illegal fishing. However, Somali security forces are better equipped now to handle challenges.
(With inputs from VOA and Reuters.)
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