70 Bangladesh fishermen held hostage by pirates
Some 70 fishermen are being held hostage in the Bay of Bengal by pirates demanding thousands of dollars in ransom money.india Updated: May 13, 2006 11:45 IST
Some 70 Bangladeshi fishermen are being held hostage in the Bay of Bengal by pirates demanding thousands of dollars in ransom money, police said on Saturday.
The pirates hijacked eight trawlers at gunpoint on Wednesday. They then allowed a couple of fishermen to return to port in one of the boats with a ransom demand.
The freed fishermen were given a mobile phone with which to contact the bandits and told their colleagues would be killed if they failed to return with the money, police inspector Abdul Kuddus said.
"They were told to get 100,000 taka (1,587 dollars) for each of the seven boats from the trawler owners and the families," he said.
Piracy is rampant along parts of the Bangladesh coastline.
"Many fishermen lose their lives in attacks and it is impossible for their poor families to meet these demands," said Mostafa Chowdhury, president of the Trawler Owners' Association in the southern Barisal district.
Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries with nearly half the 140 million population surviving on less than a dollar a day.