Hundreds of people in Somali town of Galkaayo in central Mudug region have continued their protests peacefully for a second day to demand the release of the alleged Somali pirates in India.
The locals marched in the town in what appeared to be the largest demonstration, chanting and waving signs demanding justice for the 119 Somali men arrested in Indian jails.
The demonstrators have urged the Somali government to intervene and make efforts to release their citizens in India.
They said they are fishermen and captured illegally under false pretenses,
“ We need our people to be released without any condition, they are innocent, they were nabbed while they were fishing in their country,” Mohamed Farah, one of the protesters, said.
He added, ” We demand India to extradite prisoners to Somalia so they can get fair trials in their home country.”
The Somali Information Ministry in a statement on Sunday disputed the version that its citizens were pirates and termed the proceedings in India a case of “harassment against Somalis.”
“The government called on the ministry of foreign affairs and its diplomatic missions to closely follow up detained citizens and the challenges facing them,” said the statement.
The Times of India reported on Friday that 119 Somali pirates nabbed by the Indian coast guard and navy between 2011 and 12 had pleaded guilty to offences brought against them.
“This comes at the fag end of the trial that commenced in late 2012 with 70 witnesses deposing and difficulties caused by the absence of several foreign national witnesses. About 50 pirates, booked for murder, could face the death sentence,” Times of India said in its report.
Hundreds of pirates were arrested and now serving long jail terms in different countries and in prisons in the northern Somalia semiautonomous region of Puntland and the neighbouring breakaway region of Somaliland.