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Somali pirates hijack yacht

The European Union’s anti-piracy mission said that on Nov,7 pirates had hijacked a yacht on the Indian Ocean, off the Seychelles and that one of its passengers had been taken in by a warship.

Local sources in Somalia reported at the weekend that pirates had seized a man and a woman from their yacht and opened fire on a third man who had resisted efforts to take him to shore. “The only thing we can say at this stage is that we currently have one of the persons from the captured yacht on board one of our warships,” Lieutenant Colonel Per Klingvall, a spokesman for the EU mission, told AFP. He was unable to provide more details on the hijacking, the passengers or the health of the man.

The Somali local sources said Sunday the two hostages were held in an inaccessible part of Barawe, southern Somalia, after having been seized from their yacht a few days earlier.

Several helicopters had trailed the pirates as they reached land, said the Somali sources. “Military helicopters tried to intercept the pirates before they reached the coast this morning with the three hostages kidnapped near the Seychelles a few days ago,” Hassan Abukar, a pirate in the Somali port of Harardere, told AFP.

The pirates had apparently fired on one of the hostages, “a black man who refused to go ashore, and they left him there, but I can’t say if he is dead,” he added.

Reuters reports that a man was shot dead today after he refused to disembark from a yacht in the Indian Ocean that was hijacked by Somali pirates last week. The man, whose nationality is not known, was killed on his yacht off the coast of the town of Baraawe by pirates who had taken him hostage. Residents said the pirates wanted him to leave his yacht in which he was sailing with at least two others, a woman and a boy. “The man died instantly and the gunmen took the other hostages onshore. The woman and a boy were taken to jungle areas near the town,” said a resident.

The pirates managed to reach land with a man and a woman, both white, leaving the third hostage as the helicopters approached, according to the accounts he had heard.

Three people were on board a yacht that was hijacked by Somali pirates last Thursday.

The craft’s owner was apparently rescued and is en route to Kenya where it’s hoped he will be able to provide more information.

The other two, believed to be South Africans, are still missing.

A spokesman for Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida linked rebel group, had said the man was South African, but South Africa’s department of international relations said in a statement that he was not a South African citizen.

The pirates had said last week that the hostages were British. The Foreign Office has said only that it had heard reports of the hijacking, and was still trying to investigate further.

They’ve been named by three independent sources in South Africa and Kenya as Bruno and Deborah. Neither of their surnames have been confirmed. Bruno is apparently of Italian descent.

The owner of the yacht is also still to be named.

The International Relations Department said it is still trying to confirm the nationalities of those involved.

Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida linked rebel group, controls Baraawe on the southern coast of the anarchic Horn of Africa nation that has been mired in violence since the overthrow of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

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