SOMALIA / RESCUED HOSTAGES

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The UN is coordinating the repatriation of hostages recently rescued from Somali pirates after almost three years in captivity. The crew of the MV Iceberg 1 was freed after a successful 15-day operation by maritime police in Somalia’s Puntland region. AU-UN IST
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STORY: SOMALIA / RESCUED HOSTAGES
TRT: 3.15
SOURCE: AU-UN IST
RESTRICTIONS: This media asset is free for editorial broadcast, print, online and radio use. It is not to be sold on and is restricted for other purposes. All enquiries to news@auunist.org
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 DECEMBER 2012, BOSSASO, SOMALIA / NAIROBI, KENYA

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Shotlist

30 DECEMBER 2012, BOSSASO, SOMALIA

1. Med shot, rescued hostages entering briefing room, being greeting by officials
2. Close up, map showing location of Bossaso
3. Wide shot, rescued hostages listening during briefing by Puntland Maritime Police Force
4. Close up, Jewel Kwesi Ahiable, Ghanaian electrical engineer, listening
5. Close up, Abdimun'em Abdulhafiz Abdulhalim, Sudanese engineer, side profile
6. Wide shot, PMPF officer discussing the rescue operation
7. Close up, Francis Kwesi Koomson, Ghanaian engineer listening during briefing
8. Med shot, rescued hostages sitting in a row
9. Close up, Gerald Baredes Gonzalez, Filipino seaman, side profile
10. Close up, map of Somalia
11. Wide shot, pickup truck carrying rescued hostages arriving at airport
12. Med shot, rescued hostages jumping off the truck
13. Wide shot, soldier on guard as rescued hostages load their luggage
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdirizak Ahmed, Director-General, Ministry of Counter-Piracy & Maritime Security:
"Every time, every morning, we have been receiving a call from the international community, when are you going to rescue these people, so it was very important to take this action."
15. Close up, shoes of rescued hostages as they climb on the plane's steps
16. Med shot, rescued hostages boarding aircraft
17. Zoom out, Koomson praying to plane's interior
18. Close up, Ahiable praying
19. Med shot, plane's propeller through window
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Jewel Kwesi Ahiable, released hostage from Ghana:
"It was…tears of joy for us, we were not knowing who we were going to meet outside, we were taken in barges, the boat came three times and took all of us outside, we got to there, and first for almost three years, we got there, and in fact we got on our knees to thank the almighty god for saving our lives."
21. Various shots, UN officer Leonardo Hoy-Carrasco briefing the rescued hostages

22. Close up, Gonzalez smiling
23. SOUNDBITE (English) Leonardo Hoy-Carrasco, Associate Hostage Release & Repatriation Officer, UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS):
"The only solution to counter-piracy apart from what is already being done is that we all try to put our reference in the same place and pull together in the same direction."

DECEMBER 30, 2012 - NAIROBI, KENYA

24. Med shot, plane's wheels being deployed for landing
25. Med shot, rescued postages disembarking
26. Zoom out, rescued hostages and UN officials walking away

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Storyline

The UN is coordinating the repatriation of hostages recently rescued from Somali pirates after almost three years in captivity.

These longest-held hostages by Somali pirates were released after a successful 15-day operation by the Puntland Maritime Police Force on 23 December 2012.

24 crew members of the MV Iceberg 1 were captured in March 2010 when the Panama-flagged vessel, which is owned by a Dubai-based company, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.

Maritime police from the Somali region of Puntland, say they attacked the ship near the village of Gara'ad, in the Mudug region on 10 December. Officials report that one police officer and three pirates were killed in the ensuing gun battle. Three pirates were arrested while several others escaped. Two hostages had died under unknown circumstances during the 33-month kidnapping.

Government official Abdirizak Ahmad said the hostages’ home countries had pressured the authorities in Puntland to take action.

SOUNDBITE (English) Abdirizak Ahmed, Director-General, Puntland Ministry of Counter-Piracy & Maritime Security:
"Every time, every morning, we have been receiving a call from the international community, when are you going to rescue these people, so it was very important to take this action."

After their rescue on 23 December, the Ghanaian, Pakistani, Indian, Sudanese and Filipino survivors were taken by road to Bossaso, the regional capital.

The Hostage Relief Programme run by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) assisted with their evacuation from Somalia to Nairobi on 30 December and is coordinating repatriation efforts to their respective countries.

The former hostages say their captors had original demanded a ransom of ten million US dollars. They also tell of severe beatings, torture and elation when their 1000-day ordeal ended.

SOUNDBITE (English) Jewel Kwesi Ahiable, released hostage from Ghana:
"It was…tears of joy for us, we were not knowing who we were going to meet outside, we were taken in barges, the boat came three times and took all of us outside, we got to there, and first for almost three years, we got there, and in fact we got on our knees to thank the almighty god for saving our lives."

Although officials report that piracy numbers have dropped by over 50 percent this year due to local and international counter-piracy efforts, there about 100 hostages still being held by Somali pirates.

SOUNDBITE (English) Leonardo Hoy-Carrasco, Associate Hostage Release & Repatriation Officer, UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS):
"The only solution to counter-piracy apart from what is already being done is that we all try to put our reference in the same place and pull together in the same direction."

Apart from organising safe passage from Somalia, UNPOS and UNODC also organised medical checkups for the former hostages, helped with the necessary travel documentation and liaised with the relevant embassies and organizations.

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