Somewhere in a riverine area of southern Nigeria, four Thai workers from Udon Thani are being held captive. Their relatives are confident they are safe, however.
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This riverine area of southern Nigeria is the centre of a new fish farming industry. Four Thai workers were being paid up to 100,000 baht a month to help -- until they were kidnapped several days ago. Google Earth photo.
Kidnapped Thais believed to be safe
Yuttapong Kumnodnae and Saritdet Marukatat
Udon Thani – The families of the four Thai farm workers kidnapped in Nigeria are trying every means possible to find information about the whereabouts of their loved ones, but say they feel confident that their relatives are safe.
The families are keeping in close touch with the Thai embassy in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Samrieng Pinpinij, the older brother of Somchok Pinpinij, 55, one of the abductees, said they had also sought help from Thongdi Manissarn, a Pheu Thai Party MP in Udon Thani.
They are confident that the four are not in danger, added Panu Pinpinij, Mr Somchok's son.
The others abducted on Friday by a group of armed kidnappers are Thanawut Pinpinij, 50, who is Mr Somchok's younger brother; Bussaya Sripanya, 38, Mr Somchok's wife, and Chaiyan Taichompu, 46. All are natives of Nong Han district, Udon Thani province.
The four work at Buguma Mega Fish Farm in Rivers state, 857 kilometres south of Abuja. The farm is run by Onida, an Israeli firm operating in the African country.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Tuesday that one of the four had contacted Onida on Monday to say they were all safe. Their abductors had not yet made a ransom demand to the firm, he added.
Onida has promised to take full responsibility for the four employees, and will deal with any ransom demands while exercising extreme caution in ensuring their safety, the minister said.
The Thais were abducted on Friday, along with two Nigerians, when their boat was attacked in the Buguma area while they were travelling to work at the farm. The two locals were later set free.
Mr Panu said his parents talked to him on Facebook everyday and had never mentioned any danger in the area.
They stay at a location away from the farm and take a boat accompanied by armed Nigerian soldiers to work, he said.
Mr Somchok, Mr Thanawut and Mr Chaiyan are familiar with working with Israelis, because the three had worked in a fish farm in Israel for eight years, before returning to their home village in Udon Thani.
An Israeli agent contacted them to offer them work in Nigeria last year with a monthly salary of between 80,000 and 100,000 baht, the families said. The three decided to go to Nigeria in December and took Mr Somchok's wife with them to work for a monthly salary of 50,000 baht, they added.
They came back home on June 9 for a two-week break and to renew their visas and returned to Buguma on June 20.
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abduct: to take somebody away illegally, especially using force - ลักพาตัว
abductee: a person who has been kidnapped (abducted) - คนที่ถูกการลักพาตัว
accompanied: went with - ติดตาม, ร่วมทาง, เดินทางไปด้วย
armed: carrying a weapon - ติดอาวุธ
caution: careful thought and lack of hurry in order to try to avoid risks or danger - ความระมัดระวัง
confident: certain; having trust in people, plans, or the future - มั่นใจ
deal with: to take action to solve a problem - จัดการปัญหา
demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
embassy: a group of officials who represent their government in a foreign country - สถานทูต
employee: someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation - ลูกจ้าง
ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
exercise: to use - ใช้
extreme: very great in degree - ที่สุด
familiar: well known to you, or easily recognised by you - คุ้นเคย
firm: a business or company - บริษัท
keep in touch: to communicate with somebody, especially by writing to them or telephoning them - ติดต่อ
kidnap: to take someone away and make them a prisoner, especially in order to get money, freedom for someone else, etc. - ลักพาตัว
locals: people who live in a particular place - ชาวบ้าน
location: where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
means: methods; ways - วิธี, วิธีการ
native: someone who was born in a particular place - ชาวพื้นเมือง
operating: carrying out an activity - ดำเนินการ
ransom: the amount of money that someone wants to be paid before they will let a person go or give back a valuable object - เงินค่าไถ่
relative: a member of your family - ญาติพี่น้อง
renew: to add to the time something can be done or used - ต่ออายุ
responsibility: a duty - ความรับผิดชอบ
riverine: on, near, or relating to a river or the banks of a river - ที่เกี่ยวข้องกับแม่น้ำ
salary: a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job - เงินเดือน
whereabouts: where someone is - ที่อยู่,สถานที่,ตำแหน่งที่
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