Puntland arrests pirates behind MV Abdullah hijacking incident

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GAROWE, Somalia - At least 8 pirates have been apprehended on the East Coast of Puntland, a Federal state in northeastern Somalia, just moments after a Bangladeshi ship that was hijacked, was released from the hands of the notorious group operating in the country's waters.

Somalia had struggled with piracy in the last three months with the pirates working closely with Al-Shabaab militants according to multiple sources in the country. There have been deliberate efforts to arrest and prosecute the pirates.

A high-ranking officer from Puntland Police Force informed Garowe Online that they have apprehended 8 members of the pirate group holding the Bangladesh-flagged ship MV Abdullah. It has not been confirmed whether the ransom money paid to the pirates was recovered during the operation.

"The practice of paying ransoms could potentially encourage more pirate attacks,” a Puntland police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told Garowe Online. The coastline of Puntland has been the target of the pirates for a while.

This development comes amid a decrease in pirate attacks along the Somali coast, thanks in part to significant efforts by Indian naval forces capturing numerous pirates. The Indian Navy arrested several pirates early this month and were subjected to trial far away from Somalia.

Earlier, some reports indicated Somali pirates had released the MV Abdullah after receiving a $5 million ransom, local officials confirm. The Bangladeshi ship with a 23-member crew was hijacked in mid-March but it's not clear if the pirates were arrested after receiving the ransom.

Puntland Marine Police Force has increased surveillance along the coastline with support from Somalia’s international partners who have been working hard to help defuse piracy in the country. The efforts have to a larger extent stabilised the region.

Al-Shabab group has been taking advantage of the instability in Somalia to work closely with the pirates but their effort has not been fully successful. Somalia is battling the vices as it streamlines its economy to attract more investors.

GAROWE ONLINE

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