Seychelles hostages ‘freed’ in an operation, not by ransom payment

SEYCHELLES HOSTAGES IN SOMALIA WERE RESCUED, NO RANSOM PAID

The Seychelles’ remarkably run of good fortunes in their fight against ocean terrorism has seemingly been crowned last week, when two hostages, taken from their fishing vessel in Seychellois waters by Somalia’s terrorists of the sea, were freed in a combined operation of coalition forces now on the ground, liberating the Somalia and combating the piracy menace from land.

A widely publicized and read interview 1 ½ years ago with Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs Joel Morgan, [http://atcnews.org/2011/06/13/seychelles-breaking-news-interview-with-the-hon-joel-morgan-minister-for-home-affairs-environment-energy-and-transport/] established beyond doubt at the time that the country would continue to treat ocean terrorism as a threat to national security and continue to work hand in hand with friendly nations to pacify the Indian Ocean waters while seeking a resolution within Somalia. It was at that time too that the then still controversial placement of armed on board security on ships crossing Seychellois waters was affirmed, soon after made a requirement by the Seychelles government for vessels transiting her waters.

True to form, not to negotiate with terrorists, did the Seychelles government pursue all available options but in the end, when opportunity presented itself, had the two men rescued by force, before flying them home to a triumphant welcome by relatives, friends and Seychellois at large.

Seychelles was arguably the first country with a policy to decisively engage the ocean terrorists and successfully staged several rescue mission on the open sea, at least on one known occasion sinking a pirate vessel but in all cases returning hostages to Victoria, with minimal injuries reported to those who had been abducted.

Joel Morgan’s hard stand expressed in his interview back then, and fully reflecting Seychelles government policy at the time, stood the test of time and proved the point that decisive action and prevention measures were indeed the secret to success, as piracy on the high seas in this part of the Indian Ocean has now been decisively reduced, due to be eliminated when the Somali federal government takes full control of all the land based hideouts as it establishes full control once again.

The liberation comes at a time when the High Court in Victoria also sentenced 15 captured pirates to 18 years in prison, and though they will likely be repatriated to the custody of the newly established federal government in Mogadishu, justice has been served at a time when the two men, after just over a year in what has been described appalling conditions, returned home. Minister Morgan met his two countrymen in Nairobi and escorted them home to Mahe, where they were met by President James Alix Michel at the international airport.

It could not be established which coalition troops on the ground were involved in the liberation of the two men or if any special forces were seconded to the operation by countries engaged with the Seychelles in the fight against ocean terror, nor what fate their captors met in the end.

Well done Seychelles once again for standing your ground and holding your principles high while others pondered and wavered.