Archive for Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hostages freed from pirate hijackers

April 12, 2008

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— Helicopter-borne French troops swooped in on Somali pirates Friday after they freed 30 hostages from a yacht, seizing six of the hijackers and recovering sacks of money - apparently ransom paid by the ship's owners.

The pirates boarded the 288-foot French luxury yacht Le Ponant a week ago, capturing its crew - 22 of whom were French - off the coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden. Pirates seized more than two dozen vessels off the Somali coast last year, mostly in hopes of securing ransoms.

Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, the chief of staff of France's armed forces, said the pirates released the hostages after negotiations with the ship's owner. That phase of the operation was calm, with no weapons fired, he said. The hostages were brought smoothly to safely and the pirates went ashore.

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