Nine Chinese sailors and eight Ukrainians were kidnapped Thursday in the attack of two merchant ships by pirates in Cameroon's territorial waters, officials told AFP Friday and the International Maritime Bureau (BMI) based in Kuala Lumpur.
"Probably" kidnapped by Nigerian pirates
"Seventeen Chinese and Ukrainians have been kidnapped," a Cameroonian Maritime Authority official said Friday, on condition of anonymity, adding that nine Chinese sailors were kidnapped in the attack on their commercial vessel. According to him, the attacks were "probably" perpetrated by Nigerian pirates, customary of this kind of kidnapping for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea, among the most dangerous waters of the world.
Seventeen "Asian and European" sailors were kidnapped as a result of the attack on "two ships at anchor" off Douala, AFP confirmed Noel Choong, head of the center's information center on piracy. BMI, based in the Malaysian capital. A member of the Cameroonian security services confirmed the information to AFP on condition of anonymity.
"The abductees are civilian sailors," said the Cameroonian maritime official, adding that both vessels were carrying goods. After the kidnappings, research was launched, starting from Douala and Cotonou in particular, according to one of the Cameroonian sources.
72% of the kidnappings and 92% of the sea hostages recorded by the BMI in the world take place in the Gulf of Guinea, especially off Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.
In most cases, Nigerian pirates attack ships and kidnap sailors in order to obtain ransoms for their release.