Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Police in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland arrested 11 pirates and recovered rifles, a heavy machinegun and a truck, the region's authorities said.
Somali pirate gangs typically seize ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, holding their cargo and crews for ransom. They have raked in an estimated $150 million in ransoms, security analysts say, in what has become a highly organised, international criminal enterprise.
“On Sunday morning... PMPF (Puntland Maritime Police Force) captured 11 pirates in a security operation in Hafun District,” Puntland's Security Ministry said in a statement.
“The pirates arrested... include Mohamed Mohamud Mohamed Hassan (Dhafoor), who is a well-known pirate wanted by Puntland authorities for hijacking commercial vessels travelling the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden waterways,” it said.
The ministry said the police also recovered a Toyota truck, seven AK-47 assault rifles and one heavy machinegun.
The statement said Hassan was part of a gang that killed five members of Puntland's security forces during an operation to rescue a kidnapped Danish family last year.
Despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international navies have struggled to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea owing to the vast distances involved. The hijack success rate for Somali pirates has dropped sharply in recent months, due in part to more merchant ships turning to armed security guards, razor wire and water cannons to protect themselves.