Hostages Released, Six Pirates Captured in Somalia Yacht Hijacking

French officials on Friday said six pirates have been captured in connection with a Somali hijacking.

The French president's office says the pirates are now being held on a French Navy vessel. The president's office made the announcement Friday.

Pirates earlier had freed 30 hostages held aboard a French tourist yacht off Somalia's coast for the past week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday.

In a statement, Sarkozy thanked the French army and other French agencies "that allowed a quick end" to the hostage-taking. The statement did not elaborate on the role of the French military, but said the hostages were freed "without incident."

The statement did not say when the hostages were released or where they were. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said France would organize the hostages' return "as soon as possible" and welcomed the "happy ending" to the standoff.

Sarkozy will meet the families of the hostages in Paris on Friday afternoon.

Pirates seized the yacht, called Le Ponant, in the Gulf of Aden on April 4. It was carrying 30 crew members, including 22 French citizens and six citizens of the Philippines.

France sent elite commando troops to the region earlier this week to bolster efforts to free the captives. A French frigate was diverted from its NATO duties and tracked the yacht, while a French plane dispatched from a French base in Djibouti flew over the boat, military officials said.

Kouchner, in a statement, urged the international community to mobilize efforts against pirates in the Gulf of Aden, and said discussions were under way at the United Nations to bolster global efforts against pirates.