Fishermen return to Iran years after Somalia kidnapping

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Fourteen Iranian fishermen captured by the al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia, some so long as eight years in the past, have returned house, information media within the Islamic Republic stated on Sunday.

The fishermen have been kidnapped in worldwide waters close to Somalia and launched after “long negotiations with government officials, tribal chiefs and Somali elders,” the ISNA information company reported.

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They have been welcomed at a particular ceremony at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Worldwide Airport on Saturday night time earlier than being transported to their southern hometown of Chabahar, it added.

Their launch comes practically a month after Somali police stated they found 20 foreigners – 14 Iranians and 6 Pakistanis – close to territory managed by the militant group.

On the time, Somali police stated some had been kidnapped by al-Shabaab in 2014, whereas others had been kidnapped on Harardhere’s southern coast in mid-2019.

It was unclear how they got here to be launched and police didn’t present additional particulars, citing an ongoing investigation.

Experiences recommended they might have been kidnapped by pirates and handed over to al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate that features international fighters in its ranks.

Al-Shabaab, which controls elements of Somalia’s countryside, has been attempting to topple the central authorities for 15 years and financed its insurgency by way of felony actions together with kidnapping and ransom.

Somalia has additionally been stricken by piracy for years, though assaults on maritime vessels off its coast have fallen sharply lately since peaking at 176 in 2011.

In 2020, three Iranian fishermen believed to be the final hostages held by Somali pirates have been launched after 5 years of captivity.

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