Dec 31 - The freed crew members of a ship hijacked in 2010 by Somali pirates say they were beaten and tortured while in captivity for nearly three years. Lindsey Parietti reports.
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Beaten, tortured and held for nearly three years in captivity, these hostages are finally starting their journey home.
Somali pirates captured 24 crew members of a Dubai-owned ship flying a Panama flag in March 2010.
A 15-day rescue operation culminating in a gun battle between maritime police and the pirates, succeeded last week in rescuing the hostages.
On Sunday the men who are Filipino, Ghanaian, Indian, Pakistani and Sudanese boarded a UN plane for Kenya.
Two hostages had died during captivity.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GHANAIAN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER, JEWEL KWESI AHIABLE, SAYING:
"We were taken in barges, the boat came three times and took all of us outside, we got to there, and first for almost three years, we've never stepped on land. We got there, and in fact we got on our knees to thank the almighty god for saving our lives."
International efforts including increased navy patrols have helped bring pirate attacks near the horn of Africa down 50 percent in 2012.
But more than 100 hostages are still in the hands of Somali pirates, who raid ships in the Gulf of Aden and hold the captives for ransom.
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