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7 Bangladeshi sailors, held hostage by Somali pirates for 4 years, finally return home

Published on Jun 12, 2014 6:29 PM
Seven Bangladesh sailors, who were released by Somali pirates after spending three and a half year as hostages, arrive at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on June 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

DHAKA (AFP) - Seven Bangladeshi sailors, held hostage by Somali pirates for almost four years, finally returned home on Thursday, saying it was "unbelievable" to be alive and describing their ordeal as "like hell".

The sailors, who had been held in dire conditions and suffered beatings, flew into the Bangladeshi capital after the Foreign Ministry said they were freed last week after lengthy negotiations.

"It's unbelievable that I am still alive and free. I want to see my family," Mr Abul Kashem, 46, one of sailors, told reporters at Dhaka airport. "Every day in captivity was like hell. We were not given proper food. They used to torture us on almost every day for ransom."

Although Bangladesh said they were freed, other officials have said they were among 11 sailors, mostly from Asia, who escaped last week and were taken to safety in Kenya.

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