Five marines who were abducted by pirates on May 9, 2020 in the ports of Malabo and Luba, 40km from the Equatorial Guinean capital, have been released in Nigeria.
According to an announcement by the government of Equatorial Guinea, pirates attacked merchant vessels on May 9, 2020 during which one Equatorial Guinean, three Russians and one Ukrainian were abducted.
“It is with great satisfaction that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea informs the national and international community that the five hostages abducted May 9 have been liberated safe and sound, ” the government in Malabo announced.
In a video recorded on August 12, 2020, under threats from the pirates, the hostages recounted the bad conditions under which they were being detained and prayed their countries of origin to do everything to secure their release.
The announcement by the government of Equatorial Guinea gave no details of the circumstances under which the hostages were released.
However, following the release of the video on September 13, the government of Equatorial Guinea indicated its “preoccupation and indignation” to the Nigerian government and summoned the Nigerian ambassador to Malabo for consultation.
Speaking to the press after his meeting with the Equatorial Guinean authorities, the Nigerian Ambassador, Toko Ali Gougulong, promised to do everything to ensure that “the ransom is paid.”
It is, however, not known whether the ransom was paid before the hostages were released.
The Gulf of Guinea which extends through the coast from Senegal to Angola, passing through Nigeria, covering a distance of 5,700km, has become the epicenter of piracy in the world in the past few years, replacing the Gulf of Aden as the most dangerous waterway.
Pirates roam the gulf waters in rapid boats, seizing commercial ships, sailors and goods for which they demand ransoms before release.