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9 Pinoy sailors taken in Africa

Most of the sailors kidnapped off the Cameroon coast last week were Filipinos, not Chinese as first reported, according to an official document seen by AFP Sunday.

On Friday, an official in the port of Douala told AFP that 17 crew had been abducted, including “nine Chinese civilian sailors” from one of the two ships attacked, along with Ukrainians.

The attacks took place on Thursday in Cameroonian waters off Douala, located at the apex of a gulf that has become a hotspot of seaborne crime.

The port document said instead that “nine hostages, all Filipinos,” were seized from a Greek-owned ship while “eight (three Russians, four Filipinos, and a Ukrainian)” were taken from a German-owned vessel.

Noel Choong, head of the information service of the International Maritime Bureau based in Kuala Lumpur, confirmed the figures but said he could not be sure of the nationalities on the second ship.

“The IMB has issued a warning to all ships at Douala. We ask all ships to take additional precautions,” Choong said Friday.

In Moscow, press reports citing the foreign ministry said three of the victims were Russian.

The Gulf of Guinea, whose coastline stretches in a huge arc from Liberia to Gabon, is notorious for piracy as well as oil theft, illegal fishing and human and drugs trafficking. 

Topics: Cameroons , kidnap , Filipinos , Noel Choong , International Maritime Bureau

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