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Russia keeps close eye on situation around abducted sailors off Cameroon coast — diplomat

The Russian diplomatic agency assumed that Nigerian pirates could be behind the attack

PYATIGORSK /Stavropol region/, August 22. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry is closely monitoring the situation surrounding the abduction of Russian sailors from the MarMalaita cargo vessel off Cameroon’s coast, the ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing held on the sidelines of the Mashuk North Caucasus Youth Forum in the southern city of Pyatigorsk.

"We continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding an attack on the ship. Nigerian pirates are supposed to have carried out the attack," she said.

"Russia’s embassy in Yaounde is in constant contact with Cameroon’s law enforcement agencies and the Interregional Coordination Center for Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as with the ship-owning company that has formed a task force to ensure the sailors’ speedy release," Zakharova added.

Unknown perpetrators, believed to be Nigerian pirates, attacked the MarMalaita vessel flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda while it was anchored off Douala, Cameroon, on August 14. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the attackers had kidnapped eight crew members, including three Russian nationals. On Tuesday, the Russian embassy in Cameroon assumed that the Russians could have been taken to Nigeria. According to the embassy, the Russians are in satisfactory condition, an agreement has been reached that antimalarial medicines will be delivered to them.

Cameroon’s Navy and the Interregional Coordination Center for Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea are conducting a search to find the kidnapped sailors. An emergency response team has been set up, which is negotiating a ransom.