Somali pirates free 26 sailors held hostage

October 22, 2016 9:30 pm

The photo taken on September 10, 2011, in the Gulf of Aden released by the Spanish Ministry of Defense shows a pirate skiff carrying a French hostage. (Via AFP)

Somali pirates have set free 26 Asian sailors held hostage in a small fishing village for more than four years since their ship was hijacked in the Indian Ocean.
“They will be flown to the Kenyan capital Nairobi,” a Somali government official said on Saturday.
Hirsi Yusuf Barre, the mayor of the city of Galkayo, said it was still not clear whether ransom had been paid to the pirates.
Barre said the captain of the vessel was killed in the hostage-taking crisis, and two others died from illness during captivity.
The freed sailors are from China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Their vessel was seized close to the Seychelles archipelago in February 2012, a time when pirate attacks were a regular occurrence in waters linking Europe with and Asia.
The lengthy period of captivity, approximately four years and eight months, is one of the longest among hostages seized by pirates in .
The sailors were held in Dabagala near the village of Harardheere, some 400 kilometers northeast of the capital Mogadishu.

The file photo shows a French navy helicopter chasing a boat transporting suspected Somali pirates. (Photo by AFP)

There are still occasional cases of sea attacks, but piracy off Somalia’s coast has subsided in the past three years, mainly due to the presence of international warships and the hiring by shipping firms of private security details.
The last outbreak of piracy cost the world’s shipping industry billions of dollars as pirates paralyzed shipping lanes, hundreds of seafarers and seized vessels way off Somalia.
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