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Kidnapped Trinidad and Tobago fishermen still being held in volatile Venezuela

By Trinidad Express

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The families have conformed that these are the abducted men. from left – Brandon Arjoon, Jerry O’Brian, Jude Jaikaran, Jason O’ Brian, Linton Manohar

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) — It has been a week since Morne Diablo fisherman Jerry O’Brian was released by his kidnappers after part of the US $200,000 ransom was paid for his life.

But five other abducted fishermen have not returned to their families.

Police say they visit every day with the families, some of whom have set up camp on the beach hoping and waiting to a boat bringing them back from Venezuela.

The TTPS has communicated with INTERPOL seeking its intervention to bring the men home, but there has not been any developments with that appeal, a senior police officer said.

On Friday, the Ministry of National Security revealed that the fishermen who were kidnapped for ransom last Sunday were up a river in Venezuela when they were taken.

National Security minister Stuart Young warned nationals of Trinidad and Tobago that they should be aware of the risks of leaving our territorial waters and venturing into the territorial waters of other countries where we have no jurisdiction.

Only one of the six fishermen have returned to Trinidad after a US $30,000 ransom was paid.

The TTPS communicated with INTERPOL and made requests for assistance through diplomatic channels.

The families of the fishermen were given a Friday deadline to pay $200,000 US to the kidnappers.

One of the kidnapped fishermen – Jerry O’Brian returned by boat to Morne Diablo around 1 p.m. Wednesday after $US 30,000 of the ransom was paid, police said.

Still missing are O’Brian’s brother – Jason O’Brian, 38, Jagdesh Jude Jaikaran, 16, Brandon Arjoon, 28, and Ricky Rambharose, 35.

They were abducted by pirates on Sunday and threats made to their families dismember them if the ransom was not paid.

On January 27, Manohar’s family received a voice note of What’s app from an unknown number from him saying that their boat was hijacked and taken to Venezuela.

In the voice note Manohar said they had been taken by Spanish-speaking men and he pleaded with the relatives to raise the money to bring them home.

A photo of the fishermen except Rambharose sitting on the floor or a room surrounded by men with automatic weapons was sent to the family.

The families said it is believed that Rambharose was not in the photograph because “he was sick”.

One of the fishermen’s family was trying to sell a partially completed house, having already sold a van and a pirogue to raise the cash to stave off threats of them being dismembered.

Police said that officials of the TTPS’ Victim’s Support Unit have visited with the relatives of the kidnap victims and offered them counselling.

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