Somali forces free hijacked Indian ship

October 22nd, 2008 - 1:14 am ICT by IANS  

Mogadishu, Oct 21 (Xinhua) Security forces in Somalia have freed an Indian ship hours after reports that it had been hijacked, officials said Tuesday.The security forces apprehended four pirates while four other escaped after a shootout, a local official said.

The ship, which had sailed from India, was carrying sugar and was headed for the port of Berbera in northwest Somalia, Liban Mohamed Yusuf, a local businessman, who owns much of the goods on board the ship, told reporters.

No one was reported to be injured in the operation to free the hijacked ship.

The operation was the second of its kind in a week. Last week, security forces succeeded in freeing another ship carrying merchandise for local businessmen.

Earlier Tuesday, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program said the cargo-laden vessel was sailing from Asia to Somalia amid fears that 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 as 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 shipping route leading to the Suez canal linking Europe and Asia.

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