10 Turkish sailors who were kidnapped three weeks ago onboard a cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria in the troubled Niger Delta have been released.

The victims, many of whom were clad in pyjamas, were handed over to a representative of their company on Friday in Yenago, the Bayelsa State capital. The 10 sailors were among 18 crew members on board a Turkish flagged Pakosy-I cargo vessel operated by shipping company Kadloglu Denizcilik, which was attacked by heavily armed suspected pirates.

According to reports, the ship was on its way from Cameroon to the Ivory Coast when it came under attack on July 16 about 200 nautical miles off Nigerian waters. However, the release of the sailors was secured following the intervention of a Niger Delta peace advocacy group, Riverine Peace Initiative in Niger Delta without any ransom paid.

The kidnappers, it was gathered, initially demanded N1billion but eventually set free their victim’s without any ransom paid following the intervention of the group and a prominent Ijaw leader. The expatriates were said to have been dropped off at the riverside town of Otuogori in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa, where they were rescued and brought to Yenagoa for onward journey to Abuja.