The two Seychellois former hostages, Rolly Tambara and Marc Songoire, have arrived safely in Seychelles and were greeted by Seychelles President James Michel; Vice-President Danny Faure; Designated Minister and Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sport; Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam; as well as the Tambara and Songoire families at Seychelles International Airport this afternoon.
Mr. Michel, who had just returned from a private visit abroad, expressed his joy at seeing the two men return home after a terrible ordeal in their time of captivity in Somalia.
“We are so overjoyed to see Rolly and Marc come home; the whole nation rejoices with their families. This is a great day for Seychelles! It is another victory for our small country. These were extremely difficult times not only for Rolly and Marc and their families, but also for the whole nation. We invested tremendous efforts and resources in securing the release of our compatriots. They have paid off.
“Marc and Rolly are finally free from the fear of violence and intimidation after one year in captivity in Somalia. They have experienced much hardship and pain, but thankfully they will have time to rest and recuperate with their families and enjoy Christmas together. This victory is a cause for celebration for the whole nation, especially as so many of us have been praying for them and working hard for their return,” said the President.
President James Michel, who is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, congratulated the Seychelles Negotiation Team for successfully ensuring the release of Rolly Tambara and Marc Songoire this weekend in Somalia. The high-risk security operation was effected without incident, and the Head of the Negotiation Team, Minister for Home Affairs and Transport, Joel Morgan, welcomed them in Nairobi, Kenya, yesterday afternoon. Their families were immediately informed of their release and safe passage, in an effort coordinated by the Minister for Social Affairs, Community Development and Sport, Vincent Meriton. Minister Morgan traveled back to Seychelles with the former hostages once they had been given medical checks.
“I would like to thank the Seychelles Negotiation Team for their hard work and perseverance to ensure the safe release of the fishermen, especially Minister Morgan who led the team and played a decisive role in the successful outcome of the operation. I would also like to thank Minister Meriton and his team for the work they have done with the families of the two men, as they ensured that they were kept informed and counseled during this difficult time. I would also like to thank the Seychelles nation for the support they have given, for the good wishes and prayers for their compatriots, as this unity and goodwill were essential to keeping our hopes alive and made every action even more determined and strong.”
Mr. Tambara, aged 70, and Mr. Songoire, aged 63, were taken hostage by Somali pirates while they were fishing on October 30, 2011, and this was communicated to the Seychelles authorities on November 2, 2011.