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9 Chinese return after 5 years spent as hostages of Somali pirates

CCTV.com

10-26-2016 04:37 BJT

After many ordeals, negotiations and hard work by governments and international organizations, 26 Asian sailors have finally come home. Somali pirates had held them hostage for nearly five years before releasing them. Among those freed are nine Chinese sailors, who arrived in the southern city of Guangzhou early Tuesday morning.

Rescued Chinese crew members held captive by Somali pirates for years arrive at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China

Rescued Chinese crew members held captive by Somali pirates for years arrive at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Oct. 25, 2016. Twenty-six crew members of a fishing boat, including 10 Chinese, were rescued on Saturday after four and a half years in captivity. Nine rescued Chinese people returned to China Tuesday morning and one remained in a Nairobi hospital for treatment. (Xinhua)

After five years of captivity in the grip of Somali pirates and having to beg for their lives just to survive on many occasions, the hostages have finally come home. Nine Chinese sailors, including one from the island of Taiwan, arrived in Guangzhou early Tuesday morning. Greeting them were families and government officials.

“I feel so excited right now. I feel I’ve been re-born,” said rescued hostage Mr. Fan.

Twenty-nine sailors were taken captive when their vessel was seized south of the Seychelles, including 10 from the Chinese mainland and two from Taiwan. Three people died after the hijacking, including two of the Chinese hostages.

The Chinese government has expressed sincere gratitude to all agencies and personnel involved in the rescue. It is also offered condolences to the families of the three people who died after the hijacking.

For the survivors, it is time to go home, reunite with families and friends and hopefully put the past behind. But for many, the past will probably continue to haunt them for a long time to come.

“I haven’t been home for four years and seven months. What I endured there would be unimaginable for people living in civilized societies. Dinner would just be some rice and sugar water,” said rescued hostage Shen Ruizhang.

But what will haunt this sailor for the rest of his life, he says, is watching his fellow crew members die and there was nothing he could do about it.
 
“Two young men died because of a lack of medical care after they fell ill. They were like my children. And they died right in front of my eyes,” Shen said.

The painful memories probably will not ever go away. But at least now he says he is very grateful to be back in the embrace of his family.

Rescued Chinese people held captive by Somali pirates for years are welcomed upon their arrival at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, south China

Rescued Chinese people held captive by Somali pirates for years are welcomed upon their arrival at Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Oct. 25, 2016. Twenty-six crew members of a fishing boat, including 10 Chinese, were rescued on Saturday after four and a half years in captivity. Nine rescued Chinese people returned to China Tuesday morning and one remained in a Nairobi hospital for treatment. (Xinhua)

Chinese sailors released after being held captive by Somalia pirates for more than four years arrive at an airport in Guangzhou City, South China’s Guangdong Province, Oct. 25, 2016. One sailor continues to receive treatment in Kenya and the other nine returned to China on Tuesday. [Photo: China News Service]

Chinese sailors released after being held captive by Somalia pirates for more than four years arrive at an airport in Guangzhou City, South China’s Guangdong Province, Oct. 25, 2016. One sailor continues to receive treatment in Kenya and the other nine returned to China on Tuesday. [Photo: China News Service]

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