MOGADISHU – Somali police launched an investigation Sunday after 20 foreigners had been found close to territory managed by the Al-Shabaab militant group claiming to be fishermen held hostage for years.
Police spokesman Sadik Dudishe mentioned the lads – 14 Iranians and 6 Pakistanis – had been detained for questioning after they unexpectedly wandered from part of Galmudug state beneath militant management.
“Some of these people were kidnapped by Al-Shabaab in 2014, while others were kidnapped on the Harardhere coast, near Qosol tyre, in southern Somalia in mid-2019,” Dudishe mentioned in a press release.
– 4 of them have bodily accidents, he says.
It’s unclear how the lads had been launched and police didn’t present additional particulars, citing an ongoing investigation.
Native authorities in Hobyo, the coastal city the place the lads appeared, mentioned the foreigners had been being held for questioning.
“We are still investigating these 20 men who were detained today after coming from an Al-Shabaab controlled area,” Hobyo commissioner Abdullahi Ahmed Ali advised reporters.
“They have claimed to be fishermen,” he added.
Al-Shabaab, which controls components of Somalia’s countryside, has been making an attempt to topple the central authorities for 15 years and financed its insurgency by legal actions together with kidnapping and ransom.
Somalia has additionally been tormented by piracy for years, though assaults on maritime vessels off its coast have fallen sharply lately since peaking at 176 in 2011.
Unconfirmed experiences counsel the lads might have been kidnapped by pirates and handed on to Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, which incorporates international fighters in its ranks.
In 2020, three Iranian fishermen believed to be the final hostages held by Somali pirates had been launched after 5 years of captivity.