Wednesday 20 September 2017

Somali pirates threaten to kill hostages after helicopter raid

A Merlin 502 helicopter (top left) from the British Royal Navy's 'HMS Westminster' fires at a Somali pirate vessel which bursts into flames on impact.
A Merlin 502 helicopter (top left) from the British Royal Navy's 'HMS Westminster' fires at a Somali pirate vessel which bursts into flames on impact.

Yara Bayoumy in Nairobi

European helicopter gunships attacked a pirate base on the Somali coast yesterday, destroying five speedboats, in the first such airborne strike by the anti-piracy force.

The Somali-based pirates responded by threatening to kill crew being held on more than a dozen hijacked vessels.

The EU Naval Force (EU Navfor) said it had carried out the overnight raid on pirate targets using helicopters and surveillance aircraft with the agreement of the Western-backed Somali government.

It was the first time EU Navfor had taken its fight against the pirates to Somali territory since its mandate was expanded to allow such strikes.

But over 300 hostages of various nationalities held by the pirates are now at risk.

A Somali pirate said: "If we are attacked while with hostages, we shall take any necessary step to save ourselves, we may also kill the hostages if we miss other options to survive."

Irish Independent

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