Spain is sending frigate to the coast of Somalia following the seizure of a Spanish tuna fishing boat, the Playa de Bakio, by pirates. Some 26 people were aboard, including 13 Spaniards and a crew of various African nationals. The Dubai-flagged Al-Khaleej, was carrying food for sale in Somalia, was also hijacked seven kilometers off the northeastern Somali port of Bosasso, and pirates reportedly fired on a Japanese-flagged chemical carrier off Yemen.
Somali authorities said the hijackers were taking the Spanish boat to Garad port, in the autonomous Puntland region. Last week, French troops captured six Somali pirates who seized a French luxury yacht and held its crew hostage for a week. They have been flown to France for questioning. (Reuters, April 21)
The pirate attacks come amid what local human rights representative as “the worst” fighting in Somalia since 1991. The Mogadishu-based Elman Human Rights Group reported at least 81 civilians were killed and more than 100 wounded as government and Ethiopian troops battled Islamic militants in Somalia’s capital over the weekend. (CNN, April 21)
See our last post on Somalia.