By Emma Amaize
Warri — THE Nigeria Navy, Friday, rescued three Indian nationals working for C F Offshore, kidnapped in Bayelsa State , March 5 , from a criminal hideout in Ajudaigbo, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State.
Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship, NNS Delta, Captain Musa Gemu, handed over the victims, Ratan Debnath, Manjeet Gahlawat and Mayank Saini, chief engineer, captain and chief officer respectively, to a representative of the company in Warri, yesterday afternoon.
He disclosed that the rescue of the trio, abducted 70 nautical miles, off Brass, from a merchant ship was facilitated by the Delta Waterways Security Commitee, DWSC, Warri, which gave relevant information to the Nigeria Navy on the den of the criminals in Ajudaigbo forest, Ugborodo.
Captain Gemu said the Indian nationals were kidnapped for financial reasons, but no ransom was paid before naval personnel swooped on the hideout.
“None of the kidnappers was arrested because they fled and abandoned the hostages when they sighted our men approaching,” he added.
The navy boss said some items, including outboard engine and personal belongings were removed from the ship. He, however, said the victims were rescued unhurt and safely handed over to their employers.
One of the victims, Saini told Saturday Vanguard, “Our kidnappers were armed, they came in a speedboat shooting and ordered us to enter their boat. They took us inside a forest, it was a rough experience, not what I wish for anybody.”
Maritime Security News Note:
This is great news on the back of a week of significant activity off West Africa. Three kidnap incidents which I’ve already documented here, as well as the attempted hijacking of a product tanker on March 5th. The tanker was reportedly attacked by gunmen in a skiff at 0645 UTC around 32nm off Bayelsa state, Nigeria, in position 04:26N-005:06E. The Master ordered the crew to muster int he citadel and then conducted evasive manoeuvres which resulted in the skiff aborting their attempt.
There continue to be a large number of incidents in the region which are not officially reported, a situation which is of no help to crew and ships in the area.
Thankfully, three Indians have now been freed, but there remain at least five more in the hands of kidnappers this week.