Pirates release 10 hostages in Cameroon

November 12th, 2008 - 3:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, Nov 12 (DPA) Pirates have released 10 crew members of a French tug kidnapped in an offshore oil field off the West African nation of Cameroon last month, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said.The seven Frenchmen, two Cameroonian and one Tunisian were abducted off the vessel owned by the Bourbon shipping company around midnight Oct 31.

The tug was carrying out maintenance work in an oilfield operated by the French petroleum concern Total near the Bakassi peninsula.

During the 11-day ordeal, the armed pirates had threatened to kill their hostages unless the government renegotiated the status of the

In Tuesday’s press statement, Kouchner said the kidnapping underscored “the need for the international community to fight effectively against sea piracy.”

He also cited the importance of the decision taken Monday by the European Union to send a fleet of frigates and spotter aircraft to the sea off Somalia in order to combat piracy there.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed his “deep relief” at the hostages’ release and, in a press statement, thanked Cameroonian President Paul Biya for his “personal commitment” to secure their liberation.

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