NAIROBI: Eleven sailors mostly from Asia held hostage for almost four years by Somali pirates have been freed and are safe on their way to Kenya, mediators who helped secure their release said on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). The sailors, who had been held in dire conditions and suffered beatings and torture, included seven men from Bangladesh, one Indian, one Iranian, and two from Sri Lanka. John Steed, a former British army colonel who helped negotiate their release, confirmed they had been freed. “Currently airborne with hostages,” Steed told AFP by text message. Their boat, the Malaysian-flagged container ship MV Albedo was captured in November 2010 but sank in rough seas last July. During their captivity, one colleague was shot by the pirates in an argument, and four others drowned. Seven other Pakistani crew members were released in 2012 after a businessman paid their ransom.