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Puntland troops rescue hostages on hijacked ship

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 23, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.

— Forces of Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region raided a hijacked ship and safely rescued 22 hostages who had been held captive for nearly three years, authorities said Sunday.

The Puntland government said their forces captured the Panama-flagged MV Iceberg 1, which was docked near the Gara'ad coastal village in Mudung region.

"After two years and nine months in captivity, the hostages have suffered signs of physical torture and illness. The hostages are now receiving nutrition and medical care," a statement said.

It wasn't immediately clear if any pirates were captured or killed during the raid.

The rescued crew members include eight Yemenis, five Indians, two Pakistanis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese, and a Filipino, Puntland Ports and Anti-piracy minister Saeed Mohamed Rage told The Associated Press. The ship was hijacked March 29, 2010.

Alan Cole, the head of the U.N.'s anti-piracy program, said the MV Iceberg 1 is one of the longest held by Somali pirates.

Close to 120 seafarers are still held by Somali pirates, though that number is considerably down from the height of the piracy crisis two years ago, when more than 600 hostages were held at once.

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mhck52 says... December 24, 2012 at 2:59 p.m.

If you're going to live someplace named Puntland, either get an American football team or change your name.

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