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11 Pinoy sailors abducted in two separate incidents in Africa

/ 04:21 AM November 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said it was “actively monitoring” developments in the abduction of nine Filipino seafarers from a Norwegian cargo ship off Benin in West Africa over the weekend.

The DFA said it was “in close contact with the seafarers’ manning agency and joins the[ir] relatives’ primacy call to ensure our nationals’ safety and security.”

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It had barely issued the statement when two other Filipino seafarers were abducted on Monday along with two other crew members of a Greek-flagged ship off the coast of Togo, another West African nation.

In a statement, Togo’s navy said “armed individuals” launched the overnight attack when the boat was some 18.52 kilometers off the coast of the capital, Lome.

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Armed guards onboard the ship tried but failed to repel the raid, it said.

“A member of the armed guard was shot and wounded and the criminals managed to escape, taking four hostages among the crew members: two Filipinos, a Greek and a Georgian,” the statement added.

Assistant Foreign Secretary Eduardo Meñez said the country’s nearest diplomatic post, which was in Abuja, Nigeria, was still verifying the reported abduction in Togo.

The Norwegian shipping company J.J. Ugland confirmed on Monday that nine crew members of its bulk vessel MV Bonita were abducted by pirates who boarded the ship while it was anchored near Cotonou port on Saturday.

On Tuesday, the European Product Carriers Ltd., parent company of the ship Elka Aristotle, reported that four of the ship’s 24-member crew were kidnapped on Monday. —With a report from AFP

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