Somali gunmen have threatened to kill three Spanish sailors abducted from a fishing vessel if two suspected pirates being held in Spain are not freed.
The warning comes in response to the capture of the two Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean by the Spanish navy in October. Their arrest came shortly after the tuna boat Alakrana and its 36 member crew were overrun by gunmen. Currently, the two Somali suspects are being held in Madrid and are set to face charges of terrorism and robbery. Speaking from the Alakrana, Captain Ricardo Blach said: ‘‘They have taken three of our crew and have given a deadline of two days. If in two days there are no signs that those two Somalis are being sent back here, they are going to kill them and immediately take another three hostages. This is a lottery. What can I say to a government that prefers to hold two pirates and sacrifice 36 sailors.’‘ Spain’s defence minister Carme Chacon defended the government’s firm stance. ‘‘We perfectly understand the concerns and worries of the sailors families of the Alakrana. But you know the pirates are not only holding the crew, but are using the anguish of their families to achieve their criminal ends.’‘ Some of the sailors families have pleaded with the Spanish government not to use a military force to free the hostages and begged that the pirates demands be met.