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Somali forces free hijacked Indian dhow
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09:04, October 22, 2008

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Local security forces in the northeastern Somali region have managed to forcibly free an abducted Indian dhow carrying sugar for Somali business people, hours after the news that it may have been abducted, officials said Tuesday.

The forces were able to apprehend four of the pirates while four others escaped following a shootout between pirates and the local forces acting as coast guards, Ali Abdi Aware, local official said.

The ship, which sailed from India , was heading for the port of Berbera in the northwest, Liban Mohamed Yusuf, a local businessman, who owns much of the commodities on board the ship, told local reporters.

No one was reportedly wounded in the operation to free the hijacked ship and its 13 crew members, the second of its kind in a week.

Last week, the forces also succeeded to free a ship carrying merchandise for local business people.

The forces have been awarded by the local authorities who said they are prevented from attempting to free other abducted ships by foreign governments concerned about the safety of their national on board the ships.

Earlier on Tuesday, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said the cargo-laden vessel was sailing from Asia to Somalia amid fears it was hijacked by armed gunmen over the weekend.

The waters off the war-torn Horn of Africa nation are considered to be some of the world's most dangerous -- pirates have hijacked nearly 30 ships this year and attacked many more.

Most attacks have been in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and north Somalia, a major route leading to the Suez Canal linking Europe and Asia.


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