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MORE than 20 Cambodian and Thai fishermen who were attacked by Somali pirates and rescued after being adrift in the Gulf of Aden will return to Thailand next week.

The 23 victims – which include 15 Cambodians, seven Thais, and one Yemeni policeman – were attacked 70 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, when pirates hijacked their ship and later sunk it. The fishermen were saved by a Thai ship, the HTMS Pattani, which is patrolling the waters as part of a 28-country anti-piracy effort.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok was told by Thai authorities that the victims, who are currently in Oman, would be picked up on Monday for their return.

“We do not have much detailed information about the Cambodian fishermen, and we’ll wait and find out once they return,” said Koy Kuong.

Thai authorities said that five other crew members were missing at sea.

The Bangkok Post reported that two 28-year-old Cambodian fishermen suffered severe burns and were being treated at a hospital in Salalah, Oman’s second-largest city. The paper also said two other Cambodian crew members were treated for sore throats and sharp stomach pains after drinking contaminated seawater.

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