Seychellois hostages released and due home soon


19-June-2009

In his National Day speech, President James Michel said the men – who were on the Indian Ocean Explorer when it was seized by pirates between March 28 and 31 – were due to arrive yesterday but were unfortunately delayed.

“Our joy today would have been more powerful if our Seychellois brothers who are being held hostage in Somalia had been with us,” he said in his address, broadcast live on national radio and television.

“We have succeeded in reaching an agreement to liberate the hostages who were on the Indian Ocean Explorer. They were supposed to be in Seychelles today.

“Unfortunately we have encountered a delay, and our negotiation team is in Kenya to finalise the arrangements for their repatriation. I am sure that very soon we will welcome them and share in their joy and happiness. We pray to God they return to us safe and sound.”

The President also spoke of the second group of Seychellois hostages held by Somali pirates and said efforts to gain their release were being stepped up.

“Our thoughts are with those who were on board the Serenity. Unfortunately, at the last minute, those who were negotiating on behalf of the pirates broke off their agreement with us. But representations are ongoing so that they too can return home as soon as possible,” he said.

During his speech, the President congratulated the police and Seychelles People’s Defence Forces for the part they played in the negotiations to liberate the hostages taken from the Indian Ocean Explorer.

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