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Anxiety over fate of 79 Indians with Somali pirates, 11 freed

Anxiety mounted about the fate of 79 Indian sailors abducted by Somali pirates from an Egyptian ship as the deadline set by the sea brigands for the execution of eight of the hostages expired on Wednesday.



New Delhi: Anxiety mounted on Wednesday about the
fate of 79 Indian sailors abducted by Somali pirates from an
Egyptian ship as the deadline set by the sea brigands for the
execution of eight of the hostages expired on Wednesday.

On the other hand, 11 Indians captured along with their
ship in a separate incident have been freed by Somali pirates,
who had kept them hostage for 11 months, capping "delicate"
negotiations.

The concern over the plight and safety of the 79 Indians
on board the Egyptian cargo vessel MV Suez, hijacked in the
Gulf of Aden on August 2 last year was voiced in the Lok Sabha
when the Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the
issue during Zero Hour.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna assured the House
that the government was doing everything possible for their
release.

"We are doing all that we can. We are in touch with the
ship owners. We are depending upon ship owners, as is done in
most cases, to negotiate with the pirates," he said.

Krishna said there was a transitional government in
Somalia and "we have taken up the issue with the President of
that government and he has assured us all help."

The Minister said he has held talks with the Egyptian
Ambassador to India who has promised all assistance for safe
and quick release of the hostages. The Indian envoys in Egypt
and Dubai were also making efforts in this regard.
Meanwhile, 11 Indian sailors on ship RAK Africana were
freed by Somali pirates and picked up by a Spanish naval
ship in vicinity "(They are) safe," Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao said on Twitter.

Noting that the negotiations for release of the
Indians were "delicate" and "prolonged", she said 53 Indian
sailors are still in captivity of the pirates along with
hostages from other countries.

PTI

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