A Sri Lankan delegation will travel to Somalia next week to negotiate the release of six Sri Lankan fishermen abducted by Somali pirates. The Somali pirates, who have demanded the meeting with the Sri Lankans, abducted the fishermen four months ago when they trespassed into Somalia territorial waters in a trawler owned by a businessman.
The pirates, who initially demanded a ransom of $6 million, threatened to kill the fishermen if their demands were not met. The fishermen live on their daily earnings and barely make their ends meet.
Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Rajitha Senaratne said that a Somali man, who had visited Colombo last year to buy a boat and has ties with the pirates, is currently negotiating the release of the hostages. The same man negotiated the release of 12 Sri Lankan fishermen captured last year managing to get a similar ransom demand forfeited.
“We have been assured that the fishermen are alive. We have sent the images of the six fishermen and negotiations are underway to have them released,” said Minister Senaratne.
However, whether the release would come with a price, or could be negotiated without any payment like last year will depend on how the talks between the pirates and the Lankan delegation go.
The Somali government has refused to get itself involved in the matter as they have no connection with the pirates, said the minister.
Despite travel plans, the delegation that will comprise representatives of the Fisheries Ministry, the Sri Lankan negotiator and family members of the fishermen are unsure of procedures.
“Matters have become a bit complicated now. The pirates are infighting and have divided into several groups, so we are having a bit of trouble figuring out with which group our fishermen are captives with,” said the minister. (Source: Khaleej Times Online)
Its not safe to go and meet them...I am working in Soamlia and I know the ground situation.... just use local people to negotiate...there are many groups and clans and they fight each others....be careful
Podi Putha Saturday, 25 February 2012 05:36 AM
What a shocking lack of compassion for the Sri lankan Fishermen.What if these poor men were your family? We need to stand together for and with our kidnapped brothers.
silva Thursday, 23 February 2012 05:06 AM
who will talk to the " abductors" of the "White van victims"?
sam Thursday, 23 February 2012 05:08 AM
Is there collaboration between the somali pirates and the "white van" abductors?
Anonymous Friday, 24 February 2012 07:27 AM
It's like pirate summit.or Robbers vs Pirate talks
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