Four Ghanaians Left To 'Rot' With Somali Pirates

Saddened and shaken by the experience of her husband who has been held in captivity for over a year in Somalia, Mrs. Eva Koomson asked in a tearful tone, “oh so nobody cares and the government will not help in this?" This tearful plea comes months after Mrs. Koomson and the families of the other Ghanaians being held captive in troubled Somali waters by pirates appealed to government through the ministry of foreign affairs, to intervene and secure their release. According to her, no information has been forthcoming from the ministry and the one in charge is seemingly absent anytime they ask for information. “Life has been hard since my husband was held in captivity by the pirates and I am pleading with government to help their release,” she pleaded as tears flowed freely from her blood-shot eyes. According to the mother of four, the seeming silence of government and the ministry of foreign affairs are sickening. Aren’t we Ghanaians? “I vote and my husband also votes so if anything affects us it should not be beyond government to help. Please government of Ghana comes to our aid. ” 59-year Francis Koomson is one of four Ghanaians on board MV Iceberg 1 when it was captured by Somali pirates in March 2010. Their captors are demanding one million dollars from the shipping line that owns the ship. The activities of the pirates off the Somali coast, has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the 21st century. Since 2005, many international organizations including International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme have expressed concern over the rise in piracy. The MV Iceberg 1 is a Panama-flagged roll on/roll-off cargo ship, owned by Azal Shipping in Dubai. It remains hijacked, making about 10 nautical miles off the port of Aden Yemen, outside the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). It was carrying a mixed cargo of general mechanical equipment and was bound for Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates. The commanders of group of pirates who are currently holding 24 persons captive including 4 Ghanaians in Somalia who were aboard the MV Iceberg 1 are agitated about the delay in meeting their demand and have threatened to harm the crew, made up of six Indians, nine Yemenis, two Sudanese, Filipino and four Ghanaians. The Ghanaians include 31 year old Jewel Ahiable, 48-year-old Edward Kofi Asare and 59 year old Francis Koomson. Francis Koomson and Jewel Ahiable said in an earlier telephone interview that their condition worsens by the day, with little to eat or drink. As well, the mental trauma of being held captive was telling on some of the crew members. In an interview with Citi FM some months ago, one of the captives described a worrying situation. “Three days ago one man came who they [pirates] say is the commander, came with the decision that they are going to slaughter us, remove our kidneys and sell them… the health situation is very bad because people are suffering from cough, diarhorea, some have dangerous skin diseases and others are also suffering from spinal cord problems. ..we are suffering please, it is becoming unbearable. Please help us.” A report was immediately made to Ghana’s foreign Affairs Ministry who promised to look into it and work on it. According to Michael Ahiable, brother of Jewel Ahiable, he personally met Mr. Kojo Wadjie of the Foreign Afairs ministry and related the matter to him. The National Security Office and the Director of Legal and Consular Bureau of the Foreign Affairs ministry were also informed but regrettably no action has been taken.