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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Somalia Pirates grab another ship but may have been arrested

Somali pirates reportedly took another ship hostage, as set out here:
A group of suspected pirates hijacked a Somali-owned ship off of the country's northeastern coast, government officials said Monday.

The ship, al Khaliij, left a port in the United Arab Emirates and was approximately 11km from the port of Bossaso, a commercial port in the self-governing Somali state of Puntland, when pirates opened gunfire on the ship.

Said Adan Yusuf, a representative of the ship's owners, confirmed to Garowe Online that pirates had boarded and taken control of the ship.

He stated that the ship was transporting equipment and other materials to Puntland when pirates took control.

Puntland Commerce and Industry Minister Abdisamad "Abwan" Mohamed confirmed that pirates hijacked the commercial ship.

But the Commerce Minister accused "employees at Bossaso Port" of being complicit in the hijacking, saying: "They [employees] did not take any measures to stop it [hijacking]."

According to Minister Abwan, Puntland security forces have "surrounded" the hijacked ship.
However, according to early reports like this, Somali forces may have "stormed" the ship and arrested some pirates:
Security forces in northern Somalia stormed a hijacked ship Tuesday, rescuing hostages and arresting seven pirates, officials said.

Three people were wounded in the operation, said Abdullahi Said Samatar, security affairs minister in Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region. It was not immediately clear if the injured were hostages or pirates.

The Dubai-flagged ship, which was seized Monday, originated from the United Arab Emirates, Samatar said. It was not immediately clear how many people had been held on the ship.

"Our forces rescued a small commercial boat hijacked on Monday off the coast of Bossaso town," Samatar told The Associated Press. "Three were injured in the operation and seven others will be brought to justice."

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