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7 BD sailors freed by Somalis

End of 42-month captivity

 End of 42-month captivity
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Somali pirates have freed seven Bangladeshi crew held hostage abroad a Malaysian flagged vessels for over 42 months, said a Foreign Ministry official here on Saturday.The Bangladeshis were on board vessel MV Albedo when it was hijacked by Somali pirates on November 26, 2010.They have been released by their captors and are being flown to Nairobi by a special aircraft of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Kenya, said the official. All seven abducted crew are expected to join their families in Bangladesh soon, he said.The UNODC authority and Bangladesh High Commission at Nairobi will receive the freed sailors in Nairobi where they will undergo medical checkup at the Aga Khan Hospital.Preliminary report received from our High Commission confirmed that all seven are in good health and would be staying at a local hotel where they will be provided with food, medicine and clothing.Bangladesh High Commission at Nairobi has already been instructed to prepare their travel documents.As soon as the required formalities were completed by the UNODC, Bangladesh's Nairobi mission will arrange passage for the seven to return to Bangladesh. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed all concerned to do whatever was necessary for their speedy and safe release of the Bangladeshi sailors from captivity.The Foreign Ministry initially confirmed through Maritime Piracy and Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) based in London, quoting sources in the UN Office for Somalia and Nairobi, that the seven Bangladeshis were alive.The concerned authorities of Malaysia were approached since the ship owner is a Malaysian national.The High Commissioner of Malaysia in Dhaka was also requested by Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs to use their good offices in arranging release of the Bangladeshi crew.However, following a series of meetings and interactions with the Malaysian authorities Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed that they were unable to use their good offices due to the fact that the Malaysian owner had already abandoned the ship.At Dhaka's initiative the MPHRP team members visited the family members of the abducted crews in Chittagong. MPHRP also agreed to pay $ 200 ($ Two hundred) per month to the families of the hostages, said a Foreign Ministry media release.The issue was sensitive and having a humanitarian aspect and as a priority, Ministry of Foreign Affairs was doing everything possible to keep close contacts with all concerned for their safe return to Bangladesh.The government appreciated the assistance of UNODC and MPHRP for their continuous support and assistance in the release of the seven Bangladeshis.

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