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Africa

Kidnapped fishermen escape Somali pirates

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-14

After several months in captivity, 34 Egyptian fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates managed to overpower their captors and are currently sailing to Yemen. Media reports say two pirates were killed in a shoot-out with rival pirates.

AFP - A group of 34 Egyptian fishermen who escaped the clutches of Somali pirates after four months in captivity are safe and well and on their way to Yemen, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Friday.

"They are safe and well and two hours off the coast of Yemen," deputy minister for consular affairs Ahmad Rizk said.

"Our embassy in Sanaa, consulate in Aden and embassy in Djibouti are closely monitoring their progress," he said, adding that Egypt stood ready to fly the fishermen home if asked.

The Egyptians, who are holding four of the pirates, managed to escape following "successful Egyptian contacts with Somali tribes, who helped ... end their capture," Rizk said, without giving details.

The governor of Somalia's breakaway Puntland region, Muse Gele Yusuf, said on Thursday that police reports suggested "the two Egyptian fishing boats that pirates were holding off Lasqorey coast managed to escape after overpowering the pirates."

A pirate in Lasqorey village, Ali Guled, said he had heard reports of some pirates killed in fighting with the fishermen.

Rizk hinted that there might have been outside involvement in the men's escape but refused to be drawn on the reports of deaths among the pirates.

"I can't comment on that. The reports are still fluid," he said.

 

Date created : 2009-08-14

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