Two French citizens, taken hostage by pirates off the Somali coast, have been freed after a French rescue operation. Somali gunmen seized Jean-Yves and Bernadette Delanne’s yacht at the beginning of September, as they were sailing through the Gulf of Aden. The pirates had been demanding a ransom of almost one million euros for the couple.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the operation was a warning to those practicing piracy: ‘‘I would like to stress that France’s voice is clearly heard and this operation is a warning for all of those who carry out this criminal activity. France will not accept that crime pays off”, he said.’
The French government has confirmed one pirate was killed and six others captured in the recovery operation. With Somali gunmen seizing more than 30 vessels so far this year, France has demanded the EU do more to protect boats sailing in the Indian Ocean. In April, French commandos captured six Somali pirates after paying a ransom for a French yacht and its 30-strong crew.