Vol. 5 Num 694 Sat. May 13, 2006  
Front Page

Pirates take hostage 70 fishermen

Some 70 Bangladeshi fishermen are being held hostage in the Bay of Bengal by pirates demanding Tk 1,00,000 each for seven boats they captured, police said yesterday.

The pirates hijacked eight trawlers at gunpoint on Wednesday. They then allowed a couple of fishermen to return to port in one of the boats with a ransom demand.

The freed fishermen, who arrived back on Thursday, were given a mobile phone with which to contact the bandits and told their colleagues would be killed if they failed to return with the money, police inspector Abdul Kuddus told AFP.

"They were told to get Tk 1,00,000 for each of the seven boats from the trawler owners and the families," he said.

Piracy is rampant along parts of the Bangladesh coastline.

"Many fishermen lose their lives in attacks and it is impossible for their poor families to meet these demands," said Mostafa Chowdhury, president of the Trawler Owners' Association in the southern Barisal district.