Thursday, October 22, 2009

Somali Pirates Capture Indian Ship With 26 On Board

The Somali pirates remain a threat to shipping off the East Coast of Africa and into the Indian Ocean despite an ongoing mission by various navies to interdict the pirates and to protect the vital shipping lanes:
At least 24 Indian sailors were taken hostage by Somali pirates who hijacked a Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier near
Seychelles on Thursday, just a week after a vessel with two Indians among the crew was seized by the sea brigands.

The MV Al Khaliq was Indian-managed and had a sizeable number of Indian crew aboard, Noel Choong, the head of the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre, told PTI in Kuala Lumpur.

A NATO spokesman in London said, "There were 26 crew on board -- 24 Indians and two Burmese. The 33,000 DWT bulk carrier was hijacked this morning in the Somali Basin.
Meanwhile, Islamic terrorists fired on the Mogadishu airport at a time when the Somali President was preparing to board his aircraft, killing at least 20 people.
Somalia's capital sees near-daily bloodshed as a powerful insurgent group with links to al-Qaida tries to overthrow the fragile U.N.-backed government and push out some 5,000 African Union peacekeepers. Both sides of the conflict have been accused of indiscriminate shelling.

"We have seen at least 20 dead bodies lying in the streets, most of them civilians," said Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance service. He said about 60 people were wounded as mortars slammed into residential areas.

Thursday's shelling started soon after insurgents fired toward President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed's plane, said police spokesman Abdullahi Hassan Barise.

"The mortars hit the perimeter of the airport," he said. "The plane carrying the president took off safely."

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