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Monday, June 23, 2008

Somalia:"Tourist boat" nabbed by pirates?

An odd little report here:
Reports coming from the Lass-Qorri district confirm that a heavily armed Somali pirates have abducted a tourist sailing bout across the red sea in which at least three men were on board while the residents of that area confirmed that the hostages were from both France and Germany.
Other recourses we are gaining from the area say that the pirates are currently keeping their hostages in a desert area in Sanag region, I repeated efforts of having further details about this issue but I failed because of the poor quality of the telephone over that area.
UPDATE: CNN report here:
Pirates took four European tourists hostage after their yacht ran out of fuel off the coast of northern Somalia in the Red Sea's Gulf of Aden, according to a Somaliland official.

The pirates then took their hostages -- a man, woman, their child and their yacht's pilot -- into hills around the fishing town of Las Qoray, said Ahmed Yusuf Yasin, vice president of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

Somaliland soldiers and local residents were searching for the pirates in an effort to free the hostages, Yasin said.

Las Qoray is in a territory claimed by both Puntland, a self-declared autonomous state, and Somalia. The two sides clashed over the disputed land earlier this year.

Yasin said he believed the hostages were either French or German.
UPDATE: BBC says captives are German:
A Somaliland elder told the BBC that the family was German and that he had visited them.
Mr Yusuf Yasin said at least three members of the family - a father, mother and child - were taken to a mountainous area of Somaliland by their kidnappers.

The Somaliland elder who said he had visited the family also said he was negotiating with the pirates who had captured them.

He urged restraint from authorities in Somaliland and neighbouring Somali state of Puntland who have troops massed on their border, 10km (6 miles) from where the hostages are being held.
Other reports indicate the yacht's captain is French.

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