File photo.
Turkish sailors who were kidnapped three weeks ago on board a cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria in the troubled Niger Delta have been released.

The victims, many of whom were clad in pyjamas, were handed over to a representative of their company on Friday in Yenago, the Bayelsa State capital.

The 10 sailors were among 18 crew members on board a Turkish flagged Pakosy-I cargo vessel operated by shipping company Kadloglu Denizcilik, which was attacked by heavily armed suspected pirates.

Channels reports that the ship carrying no freight was on its way from Cameroon to the Ivory Coast when it came under attack on July 16 about 200 nautical miles off Nigerian waters.

However, the release of the sailors was secured following the intervention of a Niger Delta peace advocacy group, Riverine Peace Initiative in Niger Delta without any ransom paid.

The kidnappers, it was gathered, initially demanded N1billion but eventually set free their victim’s without any ransom paid following the intervention of the group and a prominent Ijaw leader.

The expatriates were said to have been dropped off at the riverside town of Otuogori in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa, where they were rescued and brought to Yenagoa for onward journey to Abuja.

The lawyer to the shipping company, Selcuk Esenyel, who engaged the expertise of the Riverine Peace Initiative in Niger Delta to help facilitate the release of the kidnapped victims, thanked the group and others for their support during their trying moment.

He said, “I want to thank the Riverine Peace Initiative in Niger Delta for helping us throughout the time I was here in ensuring the rescue of our abducted nationals. They not only helped me but gave me the courage to go for my people and rescue them.

“We are leaving Nigeria with good memories. We don’t have bad memories. People are bad and good worldwide, everywhere but we did our best to save the kids from the bush.

“I want to once again thank Timi Alaibe for his assistance and for the peace organisation.”

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