The successes came days before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to ask the United Nations to authorize "all necessary measures" against increasingly bold Somalian pirates operating in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
An Indian navy ship, the INS Mysore, was escorting merchant ships in waters off Somalia's coast today when it received a distress call from seamen on board the MV Gibe, who said they were being fired on by two boats that were approaching fast.
The Mysore and its helicopter sped to the scene, and the pirate boats attempted to escape when they saw them, according to a statement from the Indian government. Indian marine commandoes boarded the pirate boats and seized "a substantial cache of arms and equipment," including seven AK-47 assault rifles, three machine guns, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and other weapons, the statement said. They also found a GPS receiver and other equipment.
The pirates were from Somalia and Yemen, (RECRUITED BY THE AL-SHABAAB ON THEIR USA WEBSITE) two countries on the coast of the Gulf of Aden. The Gibe was flying an Ethiopian flag but little else was known about it, the Indian statement said. Last month, India's navy drew criticism after sinking a Thai fishing trawler that had been commandeered hours earlier by pirates. At least one Thai crew member was killed in the attack, which the Indian navy had originally announced by saying it had sunk a pirate "mother ship." The Indian navy defended its actions, saying it had fired in self-defense.
It was not immediately clear what would happen to the pirates captured by the Indians, or where they would be taken. The statement said only that the prisoners and their weapons would be "handed over to appropriate authorities ashore." Most foreign navies patrolling the Somali coast have been reluctant to detain suspects because of uncertainties over where they would face trial, since Somalia has no effective central government or legal system.
Also on Saturday, a German military spokesman said a navy frigate had chased away pirates in speedboats pursuing an Ethiopian freighter off the coast of Yemen. The German frigate responded to a distress call from the freighter, and a helicopter took off from the deck to investigate.
The pirates turned away from the freighter as the helicopter flew overhead, said the spokesman, who declined to give his name in line with military policy. An estimated 1,500 pirates, (directly linked to the Al-Shabaab terrroists) are based in Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region, raking in millions of dollars.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will present a draft Security Council resolution next week asking the United Nations to authorize "all necessary measures" against piracy from Somalia. However, the commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet expressed doubt Friday about the wisdom of launching attacks against Somali pirates on land, as the draft proposes.
U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney told reporters that it is difficult to identify pirates, and the potential for killing innocent civilians "cannot be overestimated." The threat of pirates recently prompted a German cruise ship to evacuate some 420 passengers and crew after the company decided not to risk their safety as the ship passed through the Gulf of Aden.
The passengers and crew have rejoined the M/S Columbus — which is on a six-month round-the-world trip — in Oman's port of Salalah after three days in Dubai, Hamburg-based cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd said Saturday.
The ship and a limited crew made it through the gulf without incident, a company spokeswoman said.
"The entire Somali coastline is now under control of the Islamists," Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told Reuters in an interview. "According to our information, the money they make from piracy and ransoms goes to support al-Shabaab activities onshore, said Mwangura"
Piracy has been rife off Somalia since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Experts say at least 30 ships have been hijacked off the coast so far this year -- and the attacks have hit unprecedented levels this month.
Al-Shabaab has been boosting its forces in recent months with an influx of fighters from around the world, including Kenya, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Indonesia, Chechnya and even the United States. Al Jazeera recently aired footage of a masked Shabab commander who called himself Abu Mansur al-Amriki and spoke with an American accent. His identity could not be confirmed.
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Reply posted on the website of Private Investigator Bill Warner; cabdisomali (6 hours ago) December 14th 2008 ....Shutdown their website? haha Why? Simply cuz Neo-Zionists such as you and the National Post can't handle the truth?? Well, you can (try) kill the messenger but you can't silence the message: we will wheap the Ethiopians and their masters (USA) Allah willing!
Reply posted on the Youtube website of Private Ivestigator Bill Warner;..jamalsaid24 DEATH BE UPON YOU AND THE AMERICANS AND THE BRITAIN'S AND THE WEST AND ALL OF THE ENEMIES OF AL ISLAM, AND THEN YOU WILL SEE WHEN YOU DIE, HOW GREAT WAS THE PUNISHMENT OF ALLAH SUBHANNA WA TAL'A(THE ONLY GOD AND THE TRUTH)