By Evelyn Usman
SIX Russian sailors that were abducted last month, off Cotonou, Benin Republic waters in the Gulf of Guinea, have been released in Nigeria.
A vessel, MSC Mandy, in which were 24 crew members, comprising 23 Russian nationals and one Ukrainian, was sailing through the Gulf of Guinea on January 2, when it was attacked 55 nautical miles off the Coast of Cotonou.
The pirates, numbering nine and armed with firearms and blades, were said to have pillaged the container ship for six hours before taking the six sailors on board with them.
However, Vanguard reliably gathered that the sailors were released by the Nigerian Navy. It could not be ascertained whether any ransom was paid for their release.
Naval sources informed that the Russian sailors were kidnapped and brought into Nigeria. They were hidden in the creeks in Delta State. When we knew where they were, we mounted clearance of way which forced the kidnappers to heed to us.
“ This feat was achieved through constant patrol of the creeks. They had no choice than to release them to us”.
Sources further said that the released sailors were in good condition and had been handed over to the appropriate authority.
As at the time of writing this report, it was gathered that all formalities had been concluded and that the sailors had returned to their country.