Somalia: Puntland arrests pirates behind Malta vessel hijack incident


GAROWE, Somalia - The Security teams in Puntland state have arrested three men believed to have hijacked a Msltese vessel along the Red Sea, as cases of piracy continue to surge along Somalia’s porous and unsecured coastline.

The three men are said to have boarded Maltese-flagged MV Ruen, which was boarded on Dec 16. They have been on board with the crew and are said to have been in contact with their accomplices before the ugly incident took place.

The arrest took place following an operation by Puntland forces in the Nugal region. The statement by the police did not say when the operation took place, but the Puntland Marine Police Force (PMPF) has been on alert along the coastline for several months now.

The ship managed by a Bulgarian shipping company with a crew of 18 is currently being held in Somalia waters, officials say. For the last five months, a host of piracy cases have been reported in the 3,333 kilometers of coastline, leading to questions about safety.

Last week, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed into law a maritime deal with Turkey, which others, allows Ankara to monitor Somalia’s coastline, including dealing with pirates and terrorists using the mineral-rich belt to antagonize people.

The deal also gives Turkey express authority to train and equip Somalia's Naval forces, who will be tasked to deal with piracy along the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Somalia does not have a formidable Naval Force to deal with emerging cases of piracy.

Somalia National Army is set to take over security responsibilities from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which has started leaving the country. The peacekeepers have been instrumental in the fight against Al-Shabaab.


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