equatorial guinea: Making all efforts for early resolution of matter: MEA on 16 Indian sailors in detention in Equatorial Guinea

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The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said all possible consular assistance will be provided to the 16 Indian sailors in detention in Equatorial Guinea and that it was making all efforts for an early resolution of the matter. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the ministry is aware of the case and at least 16 Indian sailors from a ship, which also has people of other nationalities, are detained.

He, however, refused to comment on the nature of the charges against them or the legal processes involved.

“Our missions are in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) and in Abuja in Nigeria. Both these missions are closely engaged with their respective local authorities in this case. We are also in touch with the detained sailors. We have had several rounds of consular access to these sailors,” he said at a media briefing.

“We are making all efforts for the early resolution of this issue. Our Charge d’affaires in Malabo told me that the soldiers are still in Equatorial Guinea. We saw some reports that Nigeria has asked for them to be sent over… but they appear to be in Equatorial Guinea right now,” he said.

The missions are in touch with authorities in both countries to find a resolution to this issue, Bagchi said.

“I would not like to comment on the charges or the legal processes. We will extend all possible consular assistance we can to these individuals,” he said.

Responding to another question on a so-called referendum on Khalistan in Canada, Bagchi said on a number of occasions, “we have made our objections clear on the so-called referendum and the politically-motivated exercises by extremist elements there”.

This has also been conveyed to Canadian authorities both in New Delhi and Canada, he said.

“We will continue to raise our concerns with the Canadian government,” Bagchi added.

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