CHENNAI: Family of L Gopi, one of the five Indian sailors abducted by pirates off Nigeria’s sea coast, is eagerly awaiting his arrival ever since his release on Thursday due to the efforts of the Nigerian forces.
The family members, residing at Sirumangadu village near Sunguvarchatram in Kancheepuram district, had been going through a harrowing time ever since one of Gopi’s friends informed them about his abduction by the pirates on December 11.
It ended on Thursday when Gopi, currently in the safety of the Indian embassy, spoke to them over the phone.
“We are just waiting to see him again. We are glad that our prayers have been answered and he has been freed from the clutches of the pirates,” said Gopi’s sister Akila.
She added, “He could not explain much on what happened. He briefly said he is safe and fine. He added that he had been made to stay in a hotel by the Indian embassy officials.
He worked in Iraq earlier and joined this company only one-and-half months ago,” she added. While it is still unclear how the Nigerian forces rescued the fiveIndians kidnapped by the pirates from a German oil tanker ship, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on Thursday, tweeted declaring the release of the five Indian sailors and thanking the President of Nigeria.
Media reports from the African country said a group of heavily armed pirates ransacked the German oil tanker ship about 40 miles of the Niger delta. While leaving the ship, the gang kidnapped five Indian sailors as well. Exact date of the occurrence of the incident is unclear.
While the family had been petitioning local officials and politicians, the first ray of hope came on December 18, when Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted saying contact has been established with the pirates and the Indian sailors are safe.
The 27-year-old Gopi is a B.Sc Nautical Science graduate from a private university in the city and becoming a sailor was always been his ambition.