Twenty one Iranians who were captured six months ago by pirates in Mudug region, central Somalia have allegedly been moved from their vessel into forests as rescue efforts intensify.
Residents in El Hur town in Hobyo also told Goodbjoog News one of the captors escaped yesterday while the fate of four others whose attempts failed remains unknown.
“One of the men tried and managed to escape yesterday in a boat and then the captors decided to move the others from the ship inside the forests for fear of being caught,” said a school teacher in the coastal town of Hobyo.
Negotiations between the government of Iran and the pirates have not borne any fruit with reports indicating that the pirates asked for huge ransoms to let free the captives.
The development comes days after a campaign group warned of a possible resurgence of piracy in the Somali waters as a result of increased illegal fishing. Secure Fisheries noted in its report that foreign boats take three times much fish more than Somali fishermen totaling to 132,000 metric tons against Somalia’s 40,000 metric tons.
There has been a general lull in the Indian Ocean waters following a steady decline in piracy activities though there are reports pirates are still holding some foreign crews demanding ransom.
Somali pirates released four Thai sailors in February after holding them for five years, the longest period of captivity of hostages held by Somali pirates.
The four released were sailors of the MV Prantalay 12 vessel, a Taiwanese flagged fishing vessel seized by Somali pirates on April 18 2010.