Haiti releases ‘boat’ hostages held by pirates

Image copyright AFP

Six Haitian nationals kidnapped from a Caribbean cruise ship on 17 September have been released.

The hostages were held by a group of pirates aboard a small boat and were rescued by crew of the vessel MV Valmagol.

The pirates were later arrested by French and US maritime security officers, Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said in a tweet.

The BBC’s Ian Allen says the release of the hostages is a further boost to Haiti’s fragile economy.

However, the full details of how the six were released are not yet known.

Six or more gunmen aboard the small vessel apparently stole the passengers’ cash and mobile phones and then locked them inside their cabin, reported Reuters news agency.

The boat had been transporting more than 600 tourists, crew members and crew from the Carnival Spirit cruise ship to the French Caribbean islands of St Martin and Saint Barthelemy.

Haiti ranks among the poorest countries in the world and has had a protracted post-earthquake period of political instability and crime.

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