News ID: 259052
Published: 0307 GMT September 21, 2019

Iranian captive of Somali pirates since 2015 freed

Iranian captive of Somali pirates since 2015 freed
REUTERS

An Iranian sailor held hostage by Somali pirates for more than four years has been released with the help of the United Nations and a humanitarian group, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi thanked the Hostage Support Partnership group, UN officials in Somalia, and authorities in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region and in Ethiopia for their help in winning the release of Mohammad Sharif Panahandeh, IRNA said.

This is while three other Iranian sailors are still held in captivity in the Horn of Africa nation, Mousavi said.

“We are happy to announce we have obtained the release of one of the last hostages of Somali piracy ... three more seafarers remain who need our help,” Hostage Support Partnership tweeted.

Earlier, Iranian media reports said Panahandeh was among 21 crew members of a boat hijacked in March 2015. Eight of the hostages died, five escaped, and four were freed in a security operation by Iran last year, the reports said.

Piracy off Somalia’s coast has subsided in the past few years, mainly due to shipping firms hiring private security and the presence of international warships.

 

   
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