The Danish navy has freed 16 hostages held captive by pirates off the Somali coast, but a further two hostages were killed in the rescue operation. The circumstances leading to their deaths were unclear.
Two hostages were killed as a Danish warship intercepted a cargo vessel that had been hijacked by pirates off the Somali coast, the Danish navy said Tuesday. A further 16 captives were freed during the rescue operation.
The Danish warship Absalon stopped the hijacked vessel on Monday as it started moving further away from the coast after trailing it for several days. When the crew refused to heed warning shots, the Danish forces opened fire on the ship, navy spokesman Kenneth Nielsen said. The 17 suspected pirates surrendered and the Danes took control of the ship.
The two hostages were found seriously injured. The circumstances leading to their injuries were unclear as were their nationalities.
"Two of the hostages were found seriously injured and even with speedy assistance from Absalon's doctor, their lives could not be saved," the navy said in a statement.
The HDMS Absalon is part of NATO's Ocean Shield anti-piracy force off Somalia and the east coast of Africa.
ccp/ncy (AFP, AP)