$7.0 million paid for Spanish hostages: Somali pirate

15th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Somali pirates received a ransom of seven million dollars (five million euros) for the release of two Spanish officers, a pirate said Sunday.

"The pirates received seven million dollars to free the two Spanish hostages (who were) held separately near the coast," Abdi Yare, a pirate operating from the Somali port of Hobyo, told AFP.

"The money was left by air on an Italian building (controlled by pirates)," he said by telephone, adding: "Under the terms of the agreement, the hostages were also brought to the building."

"The two hostages are free and waiting to be taken to their country. They were temporarily taken to an Italian ship for the time it took to process their release" on Saturday, he said.

The pair were aboard a Mozambican fishing vessel with a crew of 14 seized in the Mozambique Channel at the end of December, reports said Saturday.

The online edition of El Pais daily said the captain of the Vega 5, Juan Alfonso Rey Echeverri, and first officer Jose Alfonso Garcia were safe aboard a vessel of their employer, the Pecanova company.

The Indian navy had recovered the 140-tonne Vega 5 in March but the two Spaniards were not aboard. Photographs showed them on dry land surrounded by armed men.

The Spanish foreign ministry said Saturday it could not confirm the release of the two officers, and the media reports quoting government sources gave no details.

© 2011 AFP

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