Twenty-two hostages held for nearly three years by Somalian pirates arrived in Nairobi, Kenya before being taken back to their own countries.
Since being released eight days ago after a two-week-long siege by maritime police, the sailors have been receiving medical treatment in a Somalian hospital.
The men from the Philippines, India, Yemen. Sudan, Ghana and Pakistan suffered signs of torture – two of them died in captivity.
Ghanaian electrical engineer Jewel Kwesi Ahiable, who was one of the hostages, told of his relief when he was released:
“ We were not knowing who we were going to meet outside, we were taken in barges, the boat came three times and took all of us outside, we got to land for the first time in almost three years and in fact when we got there we fell on our knees to thank ‘Almighty God’ for saving our lives.”
The Panama-flagged cargo vessel the Iceberg 1 was seized in March 2009, off the coast of Aden, before being taken to Somalia.
Although more than 100 hostages are still being held captive by pirates the number of hijackings of ships dropped to seven this year compared to 24 in 2011.