A group of sailors who have been stranded after surviving an attack on their ship in which 13 of their fellow sailors were killed by drug traffickers have returned to China. From Xinhua:
A total of 11 cargo boats with 78 sailors on board began sailing into the Guanlei Port in the Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna in the southwestern province of Yunnan at around 3:40 p.m.
They were greeted by crowds of anxious people, including their relatives, colleagues, local officials and residents. Firecrackers were set off in celebration, and banners reading “Welcome home!” and “Welcome back to the motherland!” were displayed along with national flags.
They embraced their relatives tightly in tears as soon as they stepped on the Chinese soil.
“We were very scared when we heard that our compatriots had been killed, and we did not dare to come back home by waterway at first,” said a sailor surnamed Wu from the boat Jinshui 12.
“We are back at last! Thank the nation! Thank the government!” he said.
The Chinese government has called for action from the three governments in the region where the attacks occurred to take action to prevent future incidents, Reuters reports:
“The Chinese government values the life and safety of every Chinese citizen and demands a thorough probe of what happened and that the murderers be brought to justice,” Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao told envoys from Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
He told the three countries to “step up their investigation, get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible, report their findings to China in a timely manner and … severely punish the assailants”, according to a statement on the ministry’s website (www.mfa.gov.cn).
The three must ensure the safety of Chinese sailors on the river and China will assist in ensuring that happens, the ministry paraphrased Song as saying.