Sat, 19 Oct 2019

An Iranian man held hostage by Somali pirates for four-and-a-half years has been released and is on his way home, according to a humanitarian group.

A statement on September 11 by the Hostage Support Partnership says Mohammad Sharif Panahandeh had become increasingly ill and couldn't have survived much longer.

The organization said he was one of four remaining hostages held in Somalia. Their Iranian fishing vessel was captured in March 2015.

The statement says Panahandeh will return to Iran in the coming days after medical tests, adding that the three remaining hostages are being held in 'appalling conditions.'

Piracy off Somalia has dropped in recent years after a multinational patrolling effort.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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