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Kerala mariners return to India after 9-month detention in Nigeria

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On Saturday, June 10, the Kerala sailors who were detained by the Nigerian Navy, returned home after nine months. At the Kochi airport, the mariners, who were detained for the last 9 months, had an emotional reunion with their family members. They returned home via Cape Town, South Africa, and thanked the Ministry of External Affairs for assistance.

On his return, Sanu Jose, one of the mariners, from Elamkulam, speaking with the media, said, “I am with my children now, and I am unable to express how I feel because there was a lot of uncertainty about what would happen to our lives, as we were told that our lives would be ending in Nigeria. I thank everyone including the government of India and the government of Kerala for helping us”.

“It was a difficult experience for us but the government of India made a tremendous effort in this case and they did a great job on getting us released, for which, the value of our passports played a great role as well. I would like to thank the Ministry of External Affairs and the High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, G. Balasubramanian”, stated another sailor, V Vijith from Kollam.

Milton D’ Couth from Mulavukad said, “There was this huge excitement and sense of freedom on landing on home soil. Communication was the biggest problem during detention since our captors allowed us access to mobile phones only for a few minutes once in one or two months. They wanted us to communicate with none other than our families”.

He added, “We were locked up in a small room. To be dealt like criminals despite committing no crime was traumatic”.

16 crew members of the ‘MD Heroic Idun’ ship, were detained in 2022 in Equatorial Guinea, on charges of violating their territorial waters, and they were in custody of the naval force since August 12, 2022, and later, they were handed over to the Nigerian Navy. In all, there were 26 crew members on the ship, out of whom 16 were Indian, 8 from Sri Lanka, and 1 each from Poland and Philippines.

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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