ISTANBUL, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Fifteen Turkish sailorskidnapped by pirates last month in the Gulf of Guinea arrivedback in Turkey on Sunday and the ship’s captain described howthey faced death threats and were held in a forest during theirthree-week ordeal.The sailors hugged relatives as they arrived before dawn atIstanbul Airport, where they were greeted by Turkish ForeignMinister Mevlut Cavusoglu and other officials, two days afternews of their release in Nigeria emerged.”We were in a forest. There were tough conditions. Therewere constantly armed men at our side,” Mustafa Kaya, captain ofthe ship “Mozart” from which the crew were abducted, was citedas saying by the Demiroren news agency.The Liberian-flagged container ship was headed to Cape Townfrom Lagos when it was attacked on Jan. 23, 160 km (100 miles)off Sao Tome island, maritime reports showed. One Azeri sailorwas killed in what the crew described as a sophisticated andwell-orchestrated attack. “We didn’t experience physical violence but they exertedpsychological pressure during the negotiations. They said ‘wewill kill you if your company does not do what we want’,” Kayasaid.Kaya said that at the time of their abduction the crew hadlocked themselves in a secure room but that the pirates hadforced their way in after a five-hour struggle.”They were constantly opening fire, firing randomly inside.At that time one of our colleagues died. He was shot in thebelly. We are very sad,” he said.The crew was finally taken by boat and released at a safeplace specified by the company. Their release came two weeksafter the attackers made contact to discuss a ransom.After their release, Levent Karsan from Istanbul-based BodenShipping had said that the sailors were all in good health andthat it was not a political kidnapping, but solely aimed atgetting a ransom, with talks handled by a team based in Hamburg.
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