Sunday, April 12, 2009

US skipper held by pirates is free

MOGADISHU (AFP) — A US captain seized by Somali pirates and held hostage in the Indian Ocean for five days was freed Sunday, the US state department said.

"I can confirm that Captain (Richard) Phillips has been safely recovered," said spokeswoman Laura Tischler, without providing additional details on the operation.

CNN television, citing a senior US official, reported that three of the four pirates holding Phillips had been killed, and the fourth pirate was in custody.

Phillips, who was unharmed, had been taken aboard the USS Bainbridge, one of the two US naval warships involved in the tense stand-off near the Somali coast, according to the network.

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