Somalian pirates, who hijacked an Indian commercial ship carrying 11 crew members, have now taken the vessel to Somalian village El Hur, pirate leader Aw Kombe told Reuters on Tuesday. El Hur is located near the Hobyo port in the semi-autonomous Galmudug state. “The traders want the dhow to be released without ransom, but my friends say they will not release it without at least some cash. They are still discussing,” he said.
However, there is still no confirmation on the identity and origin of the hijackers. A Galmudug state official said the pirates were from Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland. The vessel, which was believed to be heading to Bossaso from Dubai, was taken over by the pirates off the coast of Somalia. The abducted crew are from Mandvi in Mumbai.
Officials from Galmudug believe that it is the same group that had hijacked an oil tanker in March. “No doubt, the Puntland pirates who recently hijacked the oil tanker are now holding the dhow,” an official told Reuters. Galmudug’s Minister for Ports and Sea Transport Burhan Warsame agrees.
The hijacking last month was the first such attempt since 2012. However, the pirates were forced to back off after being challenged by security personnel guarding the coast.
Pirate leader Kombe, however, said the vessel was taken over by “friends from Galmudug state”. He further told Reuters that there were four groups of pirates from Puntland, and all of them were in the ocean looking for ships to hijack. “The pirates holding it [the Indian ship] must be our friends from Galmudug state,” he added.
Former General Director of Puntland’s anti-piracy agency Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir also agreed with Kombe, but for a different reason. He said the vessel’s location indicated that the pirates were from Galmudug.