Somalia: Convicted pirates freed in Yemen prison attack reach Puntland
BOSSASO, Somalia, April 4, 2015 (Garowe Online)-Convicted Somali pirates who were freed in Al Qaeda attack on a prison in the Yemeni city of Mukallah arrived back in Puntland, recounting ordeals during the pre-planned assault, Garowe Online reports.
Speaking on VOA Somali Service on Saturday afternoon, Mahdi Isse said he was serving a sentence in the prison after he was convicted of taking part in high sea crime off the coast of Somalia.
Isse added that he was among 45 Somali inmates held for various crimes, and pre-informed them about the attack: “We were informed that the prison will be attacked, once the assault commenced, we managed to escape”.
Meanwhile Abdullahi Ahmed, another Yemen prison escapee disclosed that four Somali prisoners were wounded during the operation: “Two of the four sustained leg fractures after they jumped over the long wall of the prison”.
Al though Somali pirates have long been jailed in Yemen, no independent sources confirmed the exact number of pirates set free in Al Qaeda operation.
Photographic image purporting to be senior Al Qaeda official Khalid Badrifi went viral on social media, with some posting as: “From Prison to Mukallah presidential palace”.
Gripped by sectarian strife, the poorest Arab nation on the Gulf has been witnessing intense airstrikes for two weeks.
A coalition of ten countries with Saudi Arabia at the forefront wants to contain the spread of Shiite militias, Houthis who gained ground against forces loyal to the US-backed Yemeni President Abdu Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
On April 1, Somali refugees began returning home from Yemen which shares strategic maritime boundary with the East African country.