Nine pirates who attempted to hijack a ship in Togolese waters in May 2019 have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 12 to 20 years during a trial at a Lome court, marking the first time pirates have been tried in the West African nation.
Ten pirates, including seven Nigerians, two Togolese and one Ghanaian, went on trial for “maritime piracy, wilful violence and groups of criminals”. They were accused of attacking the tanker G-Dona 1 in May 2019.
“People should understand that piracy and armed robbery at sea will be punished. And for these sea offences, we will be uncompromising,” prosecutor Kodjo Gnambi Garba told reporters.
The Gulf of Guinea, which stretches along 5,700 km of coastline, accounted for 130 of the 135 kidnappings of seafarers recorded worldwide last year, according to a recent report by the International Maritime Bureau with southeast Nigeria being the worst hotspot.