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Tanzanians rescued in Madagascar, gave first-hand accounts of a "terrifying" ordeal

Discussion in 'JF Chit-Chat' started by nngu007, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Mar 16, 2011
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    [​IMG] A SECTION of some Tanzanians, who were kidnapped by Somalian Pirates, wait for some protocol at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) after arriving safely in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.

    THE 16 Tanzanians who were abducted by Somali pirates aboard MV Aly Zoufecar on October 30, last year, THE 16 Tanzanians who were abducted by Somali pirates aboard MV Aly Zoufecar on October 30, last year, and rescued in Madagascar, gave first-hand accounts of a "terrifying" ordeal as they joined their families on arrival in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.

    In their three months ordeal, the 14 men and 2 women were forced to do heavy work as the pirates attacked over 10 ships. They, together with 12 other hostages, carried stolen goods and boats from one ship to another.

    On arrival at Julius Nyerere International Airport on a government plane yesterday, one of the seamen who addressed journalists on others behalf, spoke for the first time about the harrowing three-month experience, giving their worst fears and the happy ending which came when security forces rescued them three weeks ago.

    John Senzighe (50), a businessman who trades in tobacco, onions, yams and irish potatoes from Dar es Salaam to the Comoros, is arguably one of the heroes in the sad episode.

    After weeks and months of heavy work under duress across Somali ocean waters, he was the man who joined a Comorian mate in convincing the pirates to allow them get fuel for the ship in nearby Madagascar.

    This moment saved all of them from the edge of likely worst disaster.

    When they left Moroni in the Comoros on October 30 to return to Dar es Salaam, they boarded their ship at 6 in the morning. At 2pm they saw a boat with over 10 people they thought were asking for help.

    Hell broke loose when the boat began shelling' their ship with bullets.

    "In the confusion, the Somali pirates killed one of our colleague, a Comorian, who was the ship's engineer," he said explaining how the pirates grabbed all their money and belongings and ordered then to head towards Somalia.

    But after travelling for three hours, their ship ran out of fuel and pirates called their sources to get them credit for their satellite phones.

    In an hour's time the pirates got credit for their satellite phones and they used them to call their colleagues back in Somalia to send them fuel.

    In a few hours, their colleagues brought them another ship, inscribed 'Mombasa' which they used to head to a place called Harandelle.

    "There we found many ships under siege and we were held for a month," he said.

    "In the meantime, the pirates asked for 15m dollars ransom but this sparked an argument among them, which divided them as half of them argued that we were poor people who could not afford such an amount," he added.

    It took an hour before they gave up but went ahead and attacked another ship called MSC Panama.

    "For this attack we were used as slaves helping them to lift heavy stuff like boats from ships," he narrates adding:

    "After succeeding in this attack, we thought they would sympathise with us and let us go but it never happened and instead they took 6 of us and returned them to Harandelle".

    In a few days, they took us on another piracy errand but our ship was out of fuel, some kilometres off Madagascar.

    That is where we saw a small boat and we convinced the pirates that we would assist them in sourcing for fuel from Madagascar using the boat.

    Reclining on his seat, his son, Mshewa John (30) said his father had gone to the Comoros for business in October last year and was attacked on the eve of Tanzania's last general elections.

    "When we had the bad news in a local paper, we followed up the issue with the Comoros embassy in Dar es Salaam which confirmed the incident, saying plans were underway to help them out," said Mshewa.

    But the problem is that the family never saw their man's name on the list earlier presented to the media. "We were afraid ", said John's wife, Mariam Senzighe.

    As their ship was out of fuel, a boat passed by and they asked for help in order to source fuel in neighbouring Madagascar.

    "We convinced the pirates that we would go over to get fuel and they agreed alongside one pirate", said John adding:

    "That was the only time during the episode that we thought there was hope for life."
    On arriving in Madagascar, he and one Comorian who could speak the local language spoke to the local people who in turn informed the Comoros Embassy and this started the rescue efforts.

    The Acting Director of Middle East in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Christopher Mvula, was at hand to receive them and said they were saved by the Comoros security forces three weeks ago.