French hostage rescued from pirates after gunfight

Reuters , Sunday 11 Sep 2011

French woman who was kidnapped and whose husband was killed by Somali pirates is rescued, following similar events of a Danish family that was recently released

A French woman rescued from pirates was freed after a Spanish navy patrol boat fought a fierce gun battle off the Somali coast, Spain's defense ministry said on Sunday.

The gunboat spotted the pirates' skiff on Saturday afternoon and, with the help of a naval warfare team and a helicopter, sank the vessel and rescued the hostage, the ministry said in a statement.

Seven pirates who were on board are now under arrest.

"The Spanish amphibious craft "Galicia" has freed a French hostage...held since Thursday in the south of Yemen, and has arrested the seven pirates responsible," the statement said.

The woman had been sailing with her husband on a catamaran when pirates attacked. They kidnapped her and killed her husband, throwing his body overboard, according to a French government source.

Contrary to earlier reports, which said four people had been attacked, the couple was not sailing with anyone else, the source added.

The catamaran was found on Thursday by a German frigate. It had left the Yemeni port of Aden on September 4 and was sailing in waters known to be rife with piracy.

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