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Agence France-Presse – Somali pirates free 26 Asian hostages after four years

Somali pirates have released 26 Asian hostages held for nearly five years after the hijacking of their fishing vessel, the last commercial ship seized at the height of the country’s piracy scourge, negotiators said on Saturday.

The crew of the Naham 3, held hostage for the second longest by Somali pirates, were taken captive when their Omani-flagged vessel was seized in March 2012 south of the Seychelles.

“We are very pleased to announce the release of the Naham 3 crew early this morning,” said John Steed, coordinator of the Hostage Support Partners (HSP) who helped negotiate their release.

Steed, a retired British army colonel who has made it his mission to save “forgotten hostages” told AFP the mission to return the crew to their families still had one obstacle: extracting them from the city of Galkayo, where fighting was raging between forces from the rival regional states of Puntland and Galmudug.

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