Mogadishu- Islamist insurgents had demanded to be given some of the weapons aboard a hijacked Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks - but the pirates holding it had refused, a local official said yesterday. The Islamist gunmen from the Al Shabaab group had also received a 5% cut of the $1.5 million (R12.8 million) paid out for a Spanish ship released several months ago, a resident said. About two weeks ago, heavily armed pirates captured the MV Faina near Hobyo town in central Somalia, and are now demanding a $20 million (R170 million) ransom. Several United States navy ships are watching it to ensure that none of the weapons are unloaded. "Al Shabaab wanted some weapons from the Ukrainian ship, but the pirates rejected their demands," a local official who asked not to be named said. "Al Shabaab went away after they were rejected by the residents and the pirates. "I am sure the group is not far from the area," the official added. A relative of the pirates said the insurgents had received a 5% share of the last ransom paid, but had been demanding more. "Al Shabaab demanded more money from pirates and they disagreed," said Hussein Ali.
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