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April 11, 2008

Hostages Freed, Pirates Escape [dri]

French troops ended a hostage drama aboard the French yacht Le Ponant on Friday in Somalia after the ship’s owners paid an estimated 2 million dollar ransom. All 32 of the hostages were recovered safely as where 6 of the 12 pirates. The remaining 6 pirates along with a substantial portion of the ransom were not recovered.

Reports stated that a French military sniper aboard a rescue helicopter fired on a pirate vehicle on shore, disabling its engine. The 6 pirates riding in the car were captured by the French soldiers.

On Monday, the pirates sailed the ship to the Somali port of Eyl, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu, and some 250 miles from where they originally seized the luxury yacht. It was there that they demanded a ransom for the crew of 10 Ukrainian and 22 French nationals, six of which were women. Other reports listed 6 Philippine citizens as part of the crew held hostage. Late this week, the owner of Le Ponant negotiated and paid an alleged 2 million dollar cash ransom to the pirates.

"It's obviously a very delicate and difficult context, and so the only thing you should take from this is the outcome — crew members who are going to be able to go home to their families,"

Said Jean-Emmanuel Sauvee, a spokesman for the ship’s owner. Comforting words for the future hostages of these emboldened pirates.

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posted by xgenghisx at 06:17 PM

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