Puntland maritime forces and pirates who hijacked a tanker vessel this week exchanged fire today in Guardafui region in Somalia’s Puntland region.
Guardafui region commissioner Shire Nur Osman told Goobjoog News there was a standoff between the two sides but no one was injured. Elders from the region intervened and firing stopped, said Osman.
“The two sides fired at each other from a short distance. I saw the vessel and the pirates. I talked with the Puntland forces alongside elders here and they agreed to hold back,” said Osman.
The official said they agreed with the elders to condemn the hijacking but agreed to negotiate to avoid any harm.
“The elders have spoken against the hijacking and warned against use of force. We agreed to start negotiations,” said Osman.
A maritime official in Puntland quoted by Reuters said the Puntland forces fired at the pirates after they attempted to intercept a boat carrying supplies to the vessel.
“We tried to intercept a boat that was carrying supplies to the pirates, but pirates on the ship fired on us and so the pirate boat escaped,” said Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of the maritime force in the semiautonomous northern region of Puntland.
The pirates who described themselves as disgruntled fishermen fighting against illegal foreign trawling Wednesday demanded ransom warning they would hijack more vessels in the future.
The EU Naval force EUNVAFOR today in a tweet warned vessels using the Somali coast to be vigilant following the hijacking.
“Operation Commander stresses need for continued vigilance & self-protection at sea following the pirate attack of Somali coast,” said EUNAVFOR.