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Longest running Somali pirate hostage drama ends

The multinational task force established to conduct counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia has resulted in a massive reduction in piracy Credit: Reuters

Somali pirates have released four Thai hostages, who were captured while fishing in 2010, bringing to an end the longest-running international hostage drama in the Horn of Africa.

The four men were part of a Taiwanese flagged fishing vessel which was seized by pirates almost five years ago.

Of the original 24 person crew six died in captivity, 14 from Myanmar were released in 2011 and the remaining 4 were freed today.

Three of the four Thai nationals released today bringing to a close the longest running Somali hostage drama. Credit: Twiiter/@UNSomlia

Nicholas Kay, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Somalia said he was "grateful to see the longest-held hostages released from Somalia, and thank all those involved who made it happen,"

Somali pirates are still holding 26 crew from a vessel that was captured in 2012.

The incidents of piracy have been severely curtailed since 2010 following the creation of an international task force to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Somali hotel suicide bomb attack death toll rises to 25

The Central Hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu was targeted by suicide bombers. Credit: Reuters

The death toll from a suicide bomb attack at a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu has risen to 25.

Forty others were wounded, including the country's deputy prime minister and transport minister.

Government officials were meeting at the Central Hotel yesterday. Mogadishu's deputy mayor and two legislators are among those killed.

A statement from Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke's office said an Islamic extremist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the hotel gate and another went in and blew himself up.

It is unclear whether the 25 dead included the two bombers.

Al Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants have claimed the responsibility for the attack.


Al Shabaab claim responsibility for Somali hotel attack

Somalia's al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Somali's capital which killed at least six people.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, told Reuters: "We are behind the attack. We targeted government officials in the hotel, this is part of our operation in Mogadishu."

Police confirmed government ministers had been inside the hotel when the attackers set off a suicide car bomb outside the entrance and stormed the building.

Attackers storm Somali hotel with ministers inside

Attackers have reportedly stormed a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, after setting off a suicide car bomb outside the building.

Government ministers are believed to have been in the hotel when it was attacked.

Local police captain Farah Abdullahi told Reuters: "We hear gunshots inside. I am afraid the attackers have also gone inside the hotel.

"It is too early to know about casualties."


Somali militants launch attack on peacekeeper base

Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab attacked the main African Union (AU) peacekeeping base in the capital Mogadishu on Thursday, the group's military spokesman said.

A Reuters photographer near the base said sporadic gunfire could be heard from inside the compound. African Union officials could not be reached for comment.

"Our fighters have entered AU's Halane base by force through the gate and now fighting is going on inside the base," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operation spokesman, told Reuters.

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