Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Saudi ambassador in Nairobi has disclosed to Asharq al-Awsat that the hijackers had reduced the amount of the ransom from $25million to $15 million and pointed out that the Somali deputy prime minister was leading the negotiations with the hijackers as both belong to the same tribe.
Dr. Nabil Ashur, who met with the Somali president and his deputy, said in a telephone contact with Asharq Al-Awsat that “the tribe which hijacked the tanker is the ‘Ayir tribe, which is also the same tribe of Somali Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Abdisalam who is personally negotiating with the tribe’s notables and clans on the instructions of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf who is in the Kenyan capital Nairobi at present.”
He pointed out that he met with the Somali president on Thursday and asked him to intervene officially to liberate the tanker and added that the Somali president promised to intervene and take all the means to do that. The Somali President held an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Nur Adde and his deputy Ahmed Abdisalam immediately after his meeting with the Saudi ambassador and told them of the need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. The first official negotiations sessions was held yesterday between Ahmed Abdisalam and the “‘Ayir” tribe’s notables and clans at a banquet he held for them.
Asharq Al-Awsat learned from other sources that the hijackers have reduced their ransom demand to $15 million after having demanded $28 million and then $25 million. The same sources expected the coming hours to see a further reduction. In this context, Saudi Ambassador Nabil Khalaf Ashursaid the Saudi Government did not hold any negotiations with the hijackers, rejects the principle of negotiating with any terrorist party and the negotiations were being held between the hijackers and the insurance company.