Kidnapped workers are safe, their relatives believe
- Published: 14/08/2013 at 11:02 AM
- Online news:
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 riverinearea 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 meanspossible to find information about the whereaboutsof their loved ones, but say they feel confidentthat their relatives are safe.
The families are keeping in close touch with the Thai embassyin 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 confidentthat the four are not in danger, added Panu Pinpinij, Mr Somchok's son.
The others abducted on Friday by a group of armedkidnappers 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 firmoperating 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 ransomdemand to the firm he added.
Onida has promised to take full responsibilityfor the four employees, and will deal withany ransomdemands while exercising extremecaution 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 localswere 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 locationaway from the farm and take a boat accompaniedby armedNigerian soldiers to work, he said.
Mr Somchok, Mr Thanawut and Mr Chaiyan are familiarwith 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 salaryof 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 salaryof 50,000 baht, they added.
They came back home on June 9 for a two-week break and to renewtheir visas and returned to Buguma on June 20.
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager