Gandhingar: A day after their arrest in Gujarat, 17 Africans, 14 of them suspected Somali pirates, were questioned by a joint team of the navy, the Indian Coast Guard and the intelligence bureau, official sources said on Monday.
The 17 were arrested in Junagadh district after their vessel ran out of fuel and drifted to the Indian coastline. Alert villagers tipped off the police about them.
Inspector BH Jadeja said that 14 of them were suspected to be Somali pirates, while the remaining three were from Yemen.
The 17 seamen were in poor health and were be taken to hospital before interrogation, police said.
"Nothing incriminating has been found from them," Jadeja said.
Sources said the security agencies were in no hurry to accept the African`s statements and were trying to verify them.
They said till now the seamen had told interrogators that six Yemeni fishermen started out for fishing early this month when they were attacked by six Somali pirates June 9 off Somalia Coast.
According to the seamen, the Yemeni fishing boat 144 Al Badr 2 was seized by the pirates who took it to Somalia and left three Yemeni fishermen on the shore while more pirates got into the boat and set out from Somalia. The boat suffered an engine failure and thereafter it drifted to the Gujarat Coast.
Sources said a check of the boat revealed it was carrying 200 litres of drinking water and 1,400 litres of diesel.
Meanwhile, questions are being raised as to how the group managed to reach the shore unnoticed despite a three-tier security in place.
The Indian Navy is present in the blue water areas, followed by the coast guard and the marine police on the coastline.