Priority is to free Seychellois held by hostages


In a press conference yesterday, Commissioner of Police Ernest Quatre said our priority is Mr Quatre addressing the press conference yesterdaythe safe return of all our Seychellois now held hostage.

He said apart from negotiating directly with the kidnappers, Seychelles has made contact with high officials in the Somali interim government.

He said they have been briefed on the situation and our concerns, and they have given their commitment to put pressure on their citizens to release the hostages.

These contacts have been established through our ambassadors in Paris and Brussels, and officials in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, referring to speculation that other people are negotiating the release of the hostages, Mr Quatre called on them to stop doing so.

He said there is a team that has the legal mandate to negotiate, and any other contact could jeopardise both the talks and the lives of the hostages.

Mr Quatre said investigations are continuing into the 23 suspected pirates held in police custody, where they will stay until charges are brought against them.

Asked whether any pirate groups have contacted the local authorities about the capture of the suspects, Mr Quatre said negotiations are continuing but he is in no position to give further details.

The three different groups of pirates have had no contact since being arrested and are, for the time being, held separately. The investigation has not been able to establish whether the groups are connected in any way, he added.

Meanwhile, the suspected pirates are still being questioned so as to establish contact with their families, who have so far not been told of their detention here.

Mr Quatre said the pirates are being treated like any suspects in police custody. They have received necessary medical help and have been visited by the Red Cross.

He said communication with the pirates is satisfactory but more interpreters are being sought to help the police in their questioning.

He added that operations against pirates in our waters are continuing, and the capture of suspects near Marianne island proves they are effective. They have destabilised the pirates, who are being scattered in different directions.

Meanwhile, Mr Quatre is calling on all Seychellois to remain confident the authorities are still doing everything in their power to get the hostages released.

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