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Piracy - February 9

London, Feb 9 -- A press report, dated today, states: Somali pirates said today they have released bulk carrier Al Khaliq and its mostly Indian crew of 26 after receiving a ransom of 3.1 million dollars. "The ship was freed this afternoon after 3.1 million US dollars were paid to the pirates who had been holding it for a long time," Mohamed Ilkase, a pirate leader, said by phone. The bulk carrier was hijacked on Oct 22 around 180 nautical miles from Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. "The ship is still here but the pirates have already deserted it and have come back to shore with their ransom money," said Ilkase, speaking from the main pirate lair of Harardhere, north of the capital Mogadishu. (See issue of Jan 21.)

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