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Pirates free 9 Indians, Bangladeshis

Somali pirates have freed nine Indian and Bangladeshi seafarers after businessmen and clan elders in the country’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region negotiated their release, residents said.

world Updated: Nov 16, 2009 01:52 IST

Somali pirates have freed nine Indian and Bangladeshi seafarers after businessmen and clan elders in the country’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region negotiated their release, residents said on Sunday.

The sailors were dropped off late on Saturday in Puntland’s capital Garowe. It was not immediately clear which vessel they came from, or whether any ransom was paid. Somali sea gangs have been holding at least 13 ships and more than 230 crew hostage.

“I can’t tell them apart, but they are from India and Bangladesh,” said Ali Said, a driver hired by the gunmen to take the former captives to Garowe from Eyl, a pirate stronghold.