Hijacker Somali Pirates: We’ll Fight to the Death Before Surrendering to U.S., Russia
A group of Somali pirates who have hijacked a tanker loaded with military supplies say they will fight to the death before giving in to Russian and U.S. authorities.
The superpowers have been unable to end the standoff and remain concerned that the ship’s cargo of 33 tanks and other weapons could fall into enemy hands.
But a local official reported that the pirates turned down a demand from Islamist insurgents for some of the arms.
The tense situation off the coast of Somalia began 11 days ago when the pirates took control of the Ukrainian vessel MV Faina.
They have asked for a ransom of about $22 million, or 11 million British pounds, to release the 21 Ukrainian, Latvian and Russian hostages and the cargo.
“If we are attacked we will defend ourselves until every last one of us dies,” Sugule Ali, a spokesman for the pirates, said in an interview over satellite telephone from the ship.
“We only need money and if we are paid, then everything will be OK,” he said. “No one can tell us what to do.”
Ali’s words came as U.S. warships continued to surround the ship and American helicopters buzzed overhead.
But looks like that today we have an update: the pirates have reduced the ransom they’re asking to 8 million dollars, apparently, because:
A man who identified himself as Jama Aden and spoke by satellite phone Tuesday is not the usual spokesman for the pirates. He answered the telephone of the spokesman, Sugule Ali, and said Ali was not immediately available.
So, is he really the new pirates’ speaker?? Or not??