26 sailors, held in capitivity since March, 2012, have been freed by their Somali captors and sent to Nairobi, reported Reuters.
The Omani-flagged FV Naham 3 was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, close to the Seychelles, in March, 2012 and the 26 sailors onboard have been held ever since.
The crew from China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan have spent more than four years in Somalian town of Dabagala, 250 miles northeast of the capital Mogadishu, before being handed to authorities in the north of the country on Saturday October, 22, 2016.
Speaking to Reuters, John Steed, East Africa Region Manager for the Oceans Beyond Piracy group, said: “It is great to be here today and to bring them home and to hand them over to their embassies and their families,
“We have achieved what we have achieved by getting tribal elders, religious leaders, the community and regional government all involved to put pressure on these guys to release these hostages.”
This episodes marks one of the longest hostage situations since Somali piracy was at its peak at the start of the decade. Hijackings have dropped considerably around the Horn of Africa, particularly along the Somali coast and the Gulf of Aden, since shippers began hiring private security firms to protect their vessels and crew.
However, piracy has not faded in other parts of the world, with PTI reported a hijacking off the coast of Guinea in September, 2016.