This content is not available in your region

Spanish hostage families urge government to act

Spanish hostage families urge government to act
Text size Aa Aa

The families of Spanish fishermen who Somali pirates have threatened to kill have urged their government to give in to the gang’s demands. The pirates have said they will kill three of the 36 men being held hostage, if two Somalis facing piracy charges in Madrid are not released.

The wife of one of the captives said the government needed to demonstrate it really wanted the men to be freed. She added the government would be held responsible for whatever happened to their loved ones. They were seized when armed men overran their tuna boat, the Alakrana, last month. Speaking from the vessel, the captain also called on the Spanish government to act. ‘‘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,’‘ he said. But Spain’s defence minister indicated no deal would be done. Carmen Chacon said: ‘‘We understand perfectly the concerns and worries of the sailors’ families. But you know the pirates are not only holding the crew, but are using the anguish of their families to achieve their criminal ends.’‘ The two alleged Somali pirates were captured by the Spanish navy shortly after the Alakrana was seized. Despite the presence of a multinational naval force, pirates continue to attack ships in waters off Somalia.