Captive Fishermen Return After Four Years in Somalia

Four Cambodians who were among a crew of more than 20 that was taken captive by Somali pirates in 2012 returned to Phnom Penh on Sunday via Manila, about a week after being released.

“I am so happy,” one of the men said at Phnom Penh International Airport as the group was whisked into a waiting mini-van and driven away shortly after arriving at about 7:30 p.m.

Three of the men—Em Phumany, 34, Khorn Vanthy, 25 and Kin Koem Hen, 33—told The Cambodia Daily last week of pirates hijacking their Omani-flagged fishing vessel and killing the Taiwanese captain before demanding a ransom, leading to prolonged negotiations that led to their release on October 22.

Among 26 surviving members of the crew—from Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, the Philippines and Taiwan—the men said they were given rice once a day and often prevented from even going to the bathroom.

Officials at the airport declined to speak with reporters on Sunday.

Tek Sopheak, a program manager at social service NGO Caritas, said by telephone that the organization had housed the men last night.

“We are just helping to reintegrate them and return them home,” she said.

narim@cambodiadaily.com

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