After spending four years in captivity, an Iranian sailor has been released by the Somali pirates. Reportedly, The sailor Mohammed Sharif Panahandeh was ill

SUMMARY

 

  • Iranian hostage freed by Somali pirates after four years in captivity, fate of other three remains unclear
  • According to reports, HSP said that the remaining three hostages are all Iranian nationals and were taken hostage with Sharif from a fishing trawler in March of the year 2015.
  • In the past 10 years, thousands of ship crew have been taken hostage near the coast of Somalia and released upon payment of ransom

After spending four years in captivity, an Iranian sailor has been released by the Somali pirates. Reportedly, The sailor Mohammed Sharif Panahandeh was very ill and was released on humanitarian grounds, Hostage Support Partnership said in a statement. The rest of the crew which were taken hostage may only be released after a ransom has been paid. In the past ten years, piracy near Somalian coast has declined but had earlier peaked in the 2011 year. The decline has been attributed to an increase in patrol and armed guards on naval ships in the area.

Released on humanitarian grounds

Sharif’s freedom has meant that pirates are now captively holding three people. According to reports, HSP said that the remaining three hostages are all Iranian nationals and were taken hostage with Sharif from a fishing trawler in March of the year 2015. Mr. Sharif was severely malnourished accompanied by stomach problems and internal bleeding said Mr. Steed of HSP. The sailor has been taken to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia for initial treatment and is ready to be flown back home. Iran’s official media said that  Iran has expressed gratitude to HSP, the UN, the Somalian authority of Puntland region and Ethiopia for helping in the release. Mr. Steed has said that Mr.Sharif was freed due to health but pirates may want ransom for remaining hostages.

Background

In the past 10 years, thousands of ship crew have been taken hostage near the coast of Somalia and released upon payment of ransom. The Pirate attacks in the year 2011 had reached its peak but have since reduced to almost negligible levels recently, the European Naval Force which patrols in the area said reportedly. The decline has been a direct result of armed guards on the ships in the area which also included work of several agencies across the European Union and NATO.

 

By Divyam Jain 

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