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General cargo ship attacked off coast of Nigeria

Christian Fernsby |
Ten Turkish sailors were taken hostage by gunmen off the coast of Nigeria in what is suspected to be a kidnapping for ransom.

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Shipping company Kadioglu Denizcilik said in a statement the vessel was attacked by "pirates" on its way from Cameroon to the Ivory Coast.

The Turkish-flagged Paksoy-1 cargo ship was boarded in the Gulf of Guinea without any freight on board, Kadioglu said on Tuesday. Turkey's foreign ministry said the sailors were seized on Saturday evening.

The ship was carrying 18 crew members at the time - all Turkish citizens. The eight remaining crew were rescued and taken to Ghana, the ministry said.

Private NTV television said the pirates approached the ship on speed boats and seized the sailors. They have not been heard from since.

"According to initial information, there were no injuries or casualties. Efforts for all our personnel to be safely released continue," the company said.

Omer Celik, a spokesman for Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, spoke to reporters on Tuesday and said the foreign ministry and intelligence agencies were closely following the situation and called for the sailors' safe release.

"The assailants then picked 10 sailors at random among all the crew members and let others go", he added.

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