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Freed Indian sailors of Rak Afrikana return home


Shoaib Ahmed,CNN-IBN
Mar 16, 2011 at 08:19pm IST

Mumbai: Indian crew members who were hijacked by Somali pirates in April 2010 on board the merchant vessel Rak Afrikana on Wednesday landed in New Delhi and Mumbai to an emotional welcome.

The pirates released the ship and the crew last week, though a Tanzanian crew member died in captivity.

It was an emotional homecoming for sailors freed by pirates after almost a year in captivity on their ship in Somalia.

Freed Indian sailors of Rak Afrikana return home

At least 54 sailors are still in captivity in over 40 international ships off Somalia's coast.

With tears in her eyes, one of the freed crew members Abhinav Kotwal's mother Sudha Kotwal said, "I am seeing him after 11 months. I felt like crying on seeing him. He has lost 20 kgs."

Eleven Indian crew members on board Rak Afrikana were abducted by pirates in April 2010 off the coast of Seychelles and were kept at Obyo port in Somalia and at least 54 more sailors are still in captivity in over 40 international ships across the coast of Somalia.

24-year-old Abhinav says that it's a second life for him where freedom has acquired a whole new meaning. But for the families of the 54 Indians still held captive, this is what Abhinav had to say, "Never lose hope, they will come back and that's for sure."

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