Iranian fishermen have returned home after years in captivity by al-shabab militants in somalia. government officials, tribal chiefs and somali elders were involved in the lengthy negotiations that resulted in the fishermen’s release. the group of fishermen was welcomed by family members in a ceremony at the main international airport in tehran on saturday night.
Fishermen were kidnapped in international waters close to somalia, some as long as eight years ago. they were freed almost a month after somali police said they had found 20 foreigners – 14 iranians and six pakistanis – near land controlled by militants. the twin car bomb explosions in the capital mogadishu in october, in which 120 people died, was carried out by the islamist militant group al-shabab.
Militants have been active in somalia for more than 15 years and have control over large rural areas, continuing to mount attacks in urban centres. the government has launched a large-scale offensive against al-shabab, working together with local clan militia in an effort to release the fishermen and end the militant group’s reign of terror.