Joy and relief as victorious Seychelles welcomes Tambara and Songoire


Although they were still too tired and traumatised to give us an interview when we called on them at home later during the week, Mr Tambara was happy for the chance to at least say they are glad to be back home, although we chose not to bother Mr Songoire who seemed more affected.

“I’m still too traumatised, I do not want to remember the events. To make matters worse people are calling to tell me about people who have passed on when I was away,” said Mr Tambara after answering one of the many phone calls he seems to be getting.

Even without words, the fact that they have displayed in Mr Tambara’s sitting room the Welcome home Papa Ti Rolly and Ti Marc banner they first saw at our airport sums it all.

The news of their liberation started to leak on Saturday, but keen to ensure security was not compromised, the government dutifully remained mum about it until the two men arrived in Nairobi where Home Affairs and Transport Minister Joel Morgan was waiting for them.

He was among the first Seychellois to go through the mixture of emotions; joy that the two men were finally free, and regret that they suffered for so long or even at all, despite all the efforts the government had put in to secure their release.

In fact soon after their capture Mr Morgan was so confident that the release would be faster than the previous ones “because Seychelles had already established contacts and gained experience in such negotiations” but on Monday he said the kinds of people they were dealing with this time were erratic, high on drugs and therefore irrational.

While many would have wished to give the two men a hug to welcome back them to Seychelles, President James Michel did that at the airport for all of us when he and Vice-President Danny Faure, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam, Social Affairs, Community Development and Sports Minister Vincent Meriton as well as members of the two fishermen’s families met them on their arrival back.

He described the return as a victory and a cause for celebration for the whole nation, “especially as so many of us have been praying for them and working hard for their return”.

Mr Tambara, aged 70, and Mr Songoire, aged 63, were taken hostage by Somali pirates while they were fishing on October 30, 2011. This was communicated to the Seychelles authorities on November 2, 2011.

To mark the historic event of their liberation, we have published a selection of the pictures we took at the airport and one of Mr Tambara his partner Agneta in their Belvedere home.