11 December 2012

Somalia: Puntland Forces Kill Three Pirates in Hostage Rescue Attempt

Jariban, Somalia — At least 3 pirates were killed after they clashed with Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) near a coastal town in Puntland after a hostage rescue attempt of the pirate held MV Iceberg 1, on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.

The pirates clashed with the Puntland forces near the town of Gar’aad on the border of the Mudug and Nugal regions following a failed rescue attempt on Monday by PMPF of the MV Iceberg 1 vessel, being held hostage by Somali pirates for almost 3 years.

The maritime police forces have blockaded the vessel being held by pirates in Puntland waters .

The MV Iceberg 1 vessel owned by a shipping company in Dubai was hijacked on March 2010, around 10 nautical miles off the coast of Aden, Yemen.

According to Puntland officials, the forces clashed with pirates who were attempting to transport weapons and ammunition to the pirates on board the Iceberg 1 vessel, resulting in 3 pirates killed and 3 other pirates captured.

Sources close to PMPF told GO that the Puntland maritime forces seized thousands of bullets and heavy caliber machine guns in Tuesday morning’s attack.

The Iceberg 1 had 24 crew members on board however one crew member committed suicide by jumping overboard in October 2010, while there were reports that pirates killed the ship's captain in 2011.

According to security sources, the maritime forces attempted the rescue mission after lengthy talks with the pirates on board the vessel broke down.

The PMPF have surrounded the ship enforcing a blockade and are engaging with the pirates to peacefully surrender.

Although the two-year old PMPF have not carried out operations such as these, Puntland port police in Bossaso have carried out 7 successful rescue operations of Somali owned vessels that were taken hostage by Somali pirates.

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