Somali forces free hijacked cargo vessel

19:24, June 04, 2010      

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Forces from the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland on Thursday stormed and freed a hijacked Panama-flagged cargo ship from pirates who killed the captain, a senior local official said.

The forces forcibly boarded the ship and after brief exchanges of fire with the pirates the ship and its crew were released but the captain of the ship died as result of the shootout, Siad Mohamed Raageh, local minister for ports and marine transport told reporters.

Raageh said the regional forces arrested seven pirates who he said will be tried in courts in Puntland, a region which is known for being a pirate-hotbed but enjoys relative stability as compared to the south-central Somalia.

The pirates seized the ship, MV QSM Dubai, and its 24 crew members from Ghana, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh on Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden.

The 15, 000-tonne ship was taking supplies to north Somalia and was sailing from Brazil when it was taken by the pirates.

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