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5 Indians held by Somali pirates for almost three years freed

Twenty-two hostages, including Indians, who had been held hostage by Somali pirates nearly three years ago have been freed.

Forces of Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region said their maritime force began the operation to free the hostages and their ship, nearly two weeks ago.

The hostages are showing signs of having suffered physical torture and illness, their statement said.

According to a report, the Panama-flagged MV Iceberg One was seized off the Yemeni coast in 2009 and was being held near Gara'ad village on the coast in Mudug region when Puntland's maritime troops surrounded it on December 10.

Puntland Ports and Anti-piracy minister Saeed Mohamed Rage said that the rescued crew members include eight Yemenis, five Indians, two Pakistanis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese and a Filipino.

The Puntland authorities said in their statement that their troops fought the pirates for two weeks before safely rescuing all 22 hostages on board the ship.

They also killed a number of pirates after intercepting one of their small boats delivering weapons and other supplies to the captured ship, the report said.

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