Posted by News Express | 5 December 2020 | 426 times
Nigerian pirates who hijacked a cargo ship and kidnapped the crew last week have demanded $1.3 million in exchange for their release.
Ten crew members, including three Lebanese and two Egyptians, were on board the Milano 1 cargo ship last Thursday morning when it was hijacked.
Two crew members were freed but eight, including the ship’s Lebanese captain, are being held hostage in the Gulf of Guinea.
It was not immediately clear if the hostages are being held at sea or ashore.
The hijackers initially demanded more than $2 million in local currency, according to the National, but have since agreed to settle for the $1.3 million figure.
Direct negotiations to determine the ransom sum took place between the businessman who had hired the ship and the hostage takers.
The ship, which is registered in the Caribbean island state of St Kitts, is operated by a Lebanese firm.
However, at the time of the hijacking, the Milano 1 was being used by a Nigerian company to transport glass from Nigeria to Cameroon.
The vessel’s Lebanese owner, however, told local outlet Al Watan he had received several calls from the pirates seeking to open negotiations days after the hijacking.
Ahmad Al Kut told the newspaper he had offered to sell the ship to the Lebanese state in order to meet the ransom demand.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Houssam Diab, was quoted by the National claiming the hijackers had no intention to kill their hostages and only wanted to receive a ransom payment.
“This is not a kidnapping with the intention to kill, it was with the intention of getting a ransom,” Diab said. (Agency Report)
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