The mystery over the Ukranian ship kidnapped in Somalia continues
Le Monde reports that: “Who is the addresee of the weapons’ cargo transported by the Ukrainian cargo captured by Somalian pirates? The pirates’ speaker Sugule Ali has announced that the 33 tancks who were being transported to Sudan and not to Kenya, as was stated by Nairobi and Kiev. Anyway, the weapons’ owner is not our problem, our problem is the $20 million”, that is, the ransom the pirates have demanded to free the Faina and its cargo. The semi-authonomous Sudanese army has denied being the tanks’ owner.
The blue-and-white Ukrainian ship has been buzzed by American helicopters since Sunday. Pirates hijacked the Faina and its cargo of 33 Soviet-designed tanks and weapons on Thursday while the ship was passing through the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, en route to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Ali said the vessel was surrounded by four warships on Monday evening, though he could not identify where the ships were from. The San Diego-based USS destroyer Howard has been watching the pirate ship for several days and has spoken to the pirates and crew by radio. On Monday, U.S. naval officials said several American ships had joined the watch but declined to give details.
(…) The U.S. fears the armaments may end up with al-Qaida-linked Islamic militants who have been fighting an insurgency against the shaky, U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006, when the Islamists were driven out after six months in power. More than 9,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the Iraq-style insurgency.