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Somali Gunmen Release Ship Carrying Tsunami Aid

The United Nations says Somali gunmen who hijacked a U.N.-chartered vessel carrying food aid for tsunami victims have released the ship after holding it for more than two months.

A spokeswoman for the U.N. World Food Program, Rene McGuffin, says the vessel is en route to the Somali port of El-Maan and is expected to arrive in a few days.

She says the U.N. agency has negotiated with El-Maan port authorities to ensure a free passage of the food aid to Somalia's transitional government for distribution.

The World Food Program hired the Kenyan vessel to carry 850 metric tons of rice donated by Japan and Germany. The ship and its 10-person crew was hijacked by pirates as it sailed from Kenya to Somalia in June.

Some information in this story provided by AP.