Indian nationals from Kerala were arrested in July 2013 for their suspected involvement in a piracy attack off the coast of Togo.

5 Keralites in Togo prison for alleged piracy attack India trying to secure releaseImage for representation
news Friday, March 04, 2016 - 09:26

Five Indians, hailing from Kerala, are undergoing prison sentence in Togo on charges of attempt to robbery, while 11 Indian sailors are being tried in Nigeria, government said on Thursday.

Replying to a question in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said the Indian nationals from Kerala have been convicted by a Togolese court and government was making efforts to secure their release.

"They were arrested in July 2013 for their suspected involvement in a piracy attack off the coast of Togo," he said.

The Minister said 11 Indian sailors are also being tried at a court in Bayelsa state in Nigeria and Indian mission in Abuja was seeking an expeditious hearing in the case.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari when he was in India in October last year.

The crew, who are employees of a Merchant Navy firm, had set sail for South Africa on October, 2013 from Mumbai. While returning in the month of July, 2014, their ship got stranded in Nigeria and the entire crew was arrested for violating laws of international waters.

To a separate question on whether Chinese submarine is lurking in waters around India, Singh said government keeps a constant watch on all developments having bearing on India's security.

"Government is aware that one Chinese PLA Navy Submarine Support Vessel and one Yuan Class PLA Navy submarine entered Karachi port on May 23, 2015 and left on May 29 for deployment in Gulf of Aden.

"A conventional Chinese submarine berthed at Colombo port from September 7-13, 2014 and October 31 to November 6, 2014," he said.

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