23 December 2012

Somalia: Puntland Government Forces Reach Gara'ad As Pirates Flee

Suspected pirates surrender (file photo).

Gara'ad — Puntland government forces have reached Gara'ad coastal town, compelling pirates to flee the coastal town in Mudug region, Garowe Online reports.

Units from the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) entered Gara'ad coastal town in the early morning hours of Saturday, where PMPF commanders met with local community leaders.

PMPF commanders told Puntland-based media that the government forces "met no resistance" and have been "engaged in meeting with local community leaders."

Gara'ad coastal town has been a hub of piracy operations in recent years. On Dec. 10, PMPF forces attacked MV Iceberg 1 hijacked vessel to liberate its 22 hostages, but a standoff that commenced then continues to date.

Sources in Gaar'ad, a small town north of Gara'ad, have told Garowe Online that two hostages were released yesterday by pirates aboard the MV Iceberg 1, as the pirates are desperate and have run out of food, the sources added.

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