Seychellois Hostages Freed After Year Held By Pirates
The Office of the President of Seychelles has confirmed that, following extensive efforts by President James Michel, Mr. Rolly Tambara and Mr. Marc Songoire have been freed in Somalia, where they had been held hostage for the past year.
The two Seychelles fishermen are now in a safe area and arrangements are being made to convey them to Seychelles by the speediest means.
The two fishermen, Rolly Tambara and Mark Songoire, were abducted by Somali pirates on November 2 in 2011, on their fishing vessl, Aride, in the Seychelles territorial waters, 65 miles west of the island of Mahe, the main island. The diversion of FV Aride was confirmed by photographs taken by a surveillance aircraft showing the vessel anchored off the port of Hobyo but were later moved inland to the central town of Adado. Since the first attack against fishing boats of Seychelles in February 2009, five ships have been attacked and captured, with eleven sailors kidnapped and released after payment of a ransom.
Minister Joel Morgan, chairman of the Seychelles high-level committee on piracy accompanied by a Seychellois delegation met the President of the then Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed early in August this year. The meeting was sought by the government of Seychelles as part of the continued efforts to keep up the pressure on the TFG to secure the release of the two Seychellois hostages.
The minister echoed the appeal made by President James Michel for President Sharif to intervene for their release as the continued unlawful detention is depriving the families of the hostages of their livelihood.
Minister Morgan conveyed greetings from President Michel and had expressed the undertaking that Seychelles would support Somalia on the delicate road to constitutional democracy.
No further details on whether a ransom has been paid for the release of the fishermen, although other sources believe that $3 million ransom was to have been paid.
Recognising the position Seychelles has had at the forefront of counter piracy efforts, due in large part to the major impact Somali piracy has had on its economy, many residents have expressed their relief and joy on hearing the news of the release of the two compatriots.