by Mustafa Haji Abdinur
MOGADISHU (AFP) – Forces from the Somali breakaway region of Puntland on Sunday attacked pirates holding a Somali cargo freighter, triggering clashes that killed two pirates and a soldier, an official said.
Four others, including another Puntland soldier, were wounded when the forces attempted to rescue MV Awail, owned by a Somali trading company with a crew of 13 Syrians and two Somalis, which was seize Thursday off the region’s shores.
A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged Ukrainian cargo MV Faina in the Indian Ocean. Pirates holding a Ukrainian arms ship off the Somali coast have rejected a local mediator, delaying efforts to free the freighter laden with battle tanks and others arms(AFP/Jason R. Zalasky)
The fighting comes amid mounting pressure over piracy in the waters around Somalia, with US and international navies blockading a kidnapped Ukrainian vessel loaded with tanks and weapons.
“They surrounded the (Somali) ship this morning near Hafun area, where they exchanged fire with pirates killing two of them. One of our men also died,” said Muse Gelle Yusuf, governor of Puntland’s Bari region.