News / Africa

    Hostages Freed From Somali Pirates

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    VOA News
    Authorities in central Somalia say they have rescued 22 hostages who were held captive by pirates for nearly three years.

    The government of Somalia's Puntland region says the hostages were freed Sunday after a 13-day siege against the ship the pirates had captured, the MV Iceberg 1.

    The vessel was near the coastal village of Gara'ad.

    Somali pirates captured the MV Iceberg 1 off the coast of Yemen in March 2010 as it headed to the United Arab Emirates.

    Puntland says after two years and nine months in captivity, the hostages show signs of physical torture and illness.  It says they are now receiving nutrition and medical care.

    The crew includes people from Yemen, India, Ghana, Sudan, Pakistan and the Philippines.

    In 2010, Somali pirates hijacked nearly 50 ships and received tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments.  Hijackings have dropped sharply over the past 18 months, after most ships adopted stronger security, and foreign navies increased their patrols off the Somali coast.

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    Comments
         
    by: Muriidi from: London, UK
    December 23, 2012 5:13 PM
    This article illustrates the low standard of professionalism in the Voice of America and cast doubt on its impartiality. It contains reporting errors, geopolitical distortion and ignorance.

    a) Puntland is in the northeast of Somalia not in central Somalia.
    b) Puntland is a state (comprising five regions), not a region.
    c) The map used by Voice of America in this article is not correct. The regions of Sool and Sanaag are part of Puntland state although Somaliland also claim them. The independent and impartial media use maps that show those regions could be in dispute (shaded).
    d) The hostages were not freed by the pirates but rescued by Puntland Maritime Police Force.
    e) Piracy decreased not only due to patrolling of foreign navies but the efforts of Somalia security forces such as Puntland Maritime Police Forces.

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