Eleven men held hostage by Somali pirates for more than three years have been released, according to a United Nations official.
The U.N. special envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, said Saturday the former captives have been flown to Kenya and will be sent to their respective countries.
The details that led to the release of the 11 men are not clear. They were part of a 23-man crew on a Malaysian-flagged cargo ship, MV Albedo, that was captured in 2010 in the Indian Ocean west of the Maldives Islands.
The full crew consisted of sailors from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran. Seven Pakistani crew members were released in 2012 and four other sailors drowned. One crew member was reportedly shot and killed.
Kay said he is concerned that 38 other former crew members are still being held hostage and called for their immediate release.
The number of attacks by Somali pirates has fallen in recent years because of increased naval patrols and the presence of armed guards on ships.
Some information for this report comes from AFP and Reuters.