External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday confirmed that five Indian sailors were abducted by pirates in Nigeria two weeks ago and has asked for high-level action on the matter.
She has asked the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria Abhay Thakur to take up the matter to the highest level with the government of Nigeria for the immediate release of the sailors.
She further asked the Indian High Commissioner to send her a report on the matter.
I have seen news reports about abduction of five Indian sailors by pirates in Nigeria. I am asking Indian High Commissioner to take this up at the highest level with Government of Nigeria for their release.
Abhay – Please take this up and send me a report. @india_nigeria
— Chowkidar Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 7, 2019
This comes after reports said that five Indian sailors were abducted by pirates after taking their ship at Bonny Outer anchorage in Nigeria last month.
Their families said that they have been unable to contact them for several days.
Earlier, Bhagyashree Das, wife of one of the abducted sailors Sudeep Kumar Choudhury, appealed to Sushma Swaraj on Twitter saying her husband has been kidnapped from the MT APECUS (IMO 733810) vessel.
In a tweet on April 29, she wrote: “@SushmaSwaraj ma’am plz look into this matter. It’s been more than 10 days and yet no updates on this. We even don’t know where and how they are! We are eagerly waiting for your reply! We have faith and hope on you and I am sure you won’t disappoint us. Plz save my husband (sic).”
In her another tweet on April 30 tagging BJP spokesperson and former MP from Odisha Baijayant Jay Panda, Bhagyashree wrote: “@PandaJay Sir Plz help us to save my husband, Sudeep Kumar Choudhury 3rd Officer Merchant Navy, who has been kidnapped along with 4 other Indians from vessel, MT APECUS(IMO 733810) anchored off Lagos, Nigeria on 19.04.2019. Require ur early & urgent intervention into this matter.”
The Indian mission in Nigeria wrote back to her saying the officials are in touch with the Nigerian Navy and police for the past 10 days.
The High Commission also said that the “concerned parties” (the abductors) have made initial contact.
On May 1, Bhagyashree replied saying it has been 12 days already and with no updates.
(With inputs from IANS)