|Dutch commandos have freed 20 people who had been captured by Somali pirates after the raiders attacked a Greek-managed tanker, Nato says.
The captives, Yemeni fishermen, were freed as the Dutch forces captured seven pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
They were aboard a pirate "mother ship" from which smaller craft attack commercial vessels.
The captured pirates are alleged to have attacked the tanker using assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
A Dutch warship from the Nato force responded to a distress call from the tanker and saw the pirates fleeing toward a Yemeni fishing trawler, Nato spokesman Alexandre Santos Fernandes said.
Nato troops boarded the vessel and freed the 20 Yemenis who, he says, had been held hostage since Sunday.
The pirates were set free, the Associated Press news agency reports, because under Dutch law they could not be held at sea under the circumstances in which they were captured.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/04/18 11:23:29 GMT