6 Somalis held in Lakshadweep

According to a Navy spokesperson, several Somali nationals were detected by Navy Warship, the INS Sujata, in a boat about 100 km south of Kavaratti Island around Friday afternoon.

Aircraft and ships of Indian Navy and Coast Guard had launched intense search operations in the waters off the islands since Wednesday evening as fishermen alerted the local police with sighting of a suspicious boat 5 km off the island. The search led to the discovery of an abandoned dingy.

Next morning, three completely sapped Somali nationals were found in the north end of the island. In broken English, they conveyed to the officials that they were at sea for 35 days.
The men, who were exhausted and dehydrated, had managed to swim ashore after abandoning their boat. A fourth man drowned as they swam ashore. A larger combing operation revealed a bigger boat on Thursday evening with more Somali nationals onboard.

It is not known whether the captured persons were mercenaries or those seeking refuge. A navy official said that the boat does not seem to be a pirate vessel, indicating that they could be genuine fishermen who drifted away.

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