Santosh Bhardwaj, a marine engineer kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria, was finally freed three months later, on 10 May, in a medically stable condition, reports The Times Of India.
External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj tweeted, "I am extremely happy to inform that Shri Santosh Bhardwaj has been rescued from pirates in Nigeria," along with a picture of Santosh's wife Kanchan.
I am extremely happy to inform that Shri Santosh Bhardwaj has been rescued from pirates in Nigeria.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) May 11, 2016
The report further says that the MEA officials lauded employer company Transocean for their constant negotiations with the kidnappers. MEA was also " in constant touch with company management and was regularly monitoring the progress in negotiations."
Bhardwaj was kidnapped near Nigeria on 26 March. He was working with Transocean Limited, a Singapore based shipping company and was abducted along with four colleagues (two from Ukraine, one each from Pakistan and Bangladesh) when their ship Sampatiki was at sea, nearly 30 nautical miles off the Nigerian capital Lagos, as reported by The Indian Express.
“During wee hours on 26 March, when our ship was at sea, the pirates surrounded it and opened fire. The pirates jumped on the ship... They directed us to put on life jackets and asked us to climb on a boat. Then they drove the boat to a village on an island surrounded by dense forests,” Hindustan Times quoted Bhardwaj as saying.
He said the pirates, who were equipped with satellite phones, offered food and mosquito nets and allowed them to interact with each other during the 45 days they were held.
"We were very scared at first. But the pirates said they wanted money,and won't harm us. We later found out that the company had hired experts to deal with this situation," he recounted to ANI.
Bhardwaj hails from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. His relatives upon his abduction had written to PM Narendra Modi, who represents Varanasi in Lok Sabha, asking for help, says a report from Zee News.
He also thanked Centre for its efforts, as reported by ANI.
Published Date: May 12, 2016 16:12 PM | Updated Date: May 12, 2016 16:14 PM