The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said all possible consular assistance will be provided to the 16 Indian sailors in detention in Equatorial Guinea and that it was making all efforts for an early resolution of the matter.
A video of the sailors seeking the government of India’s help to secure their release went viral on social media earlier this week. They have allegedly been detained for over 85 days now by the Guinean navy.
16 Indian sailors, member of 26 member crew of a ship detained and held captive in Equatorial Guinea on suspicion of oil theft plead to Indian government for their release. They have been in detention since mid August 2022. pic.twitter.com/1N93s7cP31— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) November 9, 2022
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the ministry is aware of the case and at least 16 Indian sailors from a ship, which also has people of other nationalities, are detained.
He, however, refused to comment on the nature of the charges against them or the legal processes involved.
"Our missions are in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) and in Abuja in Nigeria. Both these missions are closely engaged with their respective local authorities in this case. We are also in touch with the detained sailors. We have had several rounds of consular access to these sailors," he said at a media briefing.
"Our missions in Eq Guinea, Nigeria in touch with local authorities.." says MEA Spox @abagchimea on 16 Indian sailors in custody pic.twitter.com/s60j7krTHp— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) November 10, 2022
"We are making all efforts for the early resolution of this issue. Our Charge d'affaires in Malabo told me that the soldiers are still in Equatorial Guinea. We saw some reports that Nigeria has asked for them to be sent over... but they appear to be in Equatorial Guinea right now," he said.
The missions are in touch with authorities in both countries to find a resolution to this issue, Bagchi said.
"I would not like to comment on the charges or the legal processes. We will extend all possible consular assistance we can to these individuals," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)