----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Holy Uncle 
  To: National ; media care 
  Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 2:48 PM
  Subject: [mediacare] Islamists hunt tanker hijackers

       Monday » November 24 » 2008 
        Islamists hunt tanker hijackers

        Crime against Muslim nation, insurgents say
              Abdi Sheikh 

        Saturday, November 22, 2008

        MOGADISHU - Dozens of Somali Islamist insurgents stormed a port on 
Friday hunting the pirates behind the seizure of a Saudi supertanker that was 
the world's biggest hijack, a local elder said.
        Separately, police in the capital Mogadishu said they had ambushed and 
shot dead 17 Islamist militants, in the latest illustration of the chaos in the 
Horn of Africa country that has fuelled a dramatic surge in piracy.
        The Sirius Star -- a Saudi vessel with a $100-million-US oil cargo and 
25-man crew from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Poland and Britain -- 
is believed anchored offshore near Haradheere, about halfway up Somalia's long 
        "Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and hijacking its ship is a bigger 
crime than other ships," Sheikh Abdirahim Isse Adow, an Islamist spokesman, 
told Reuters. "Haradheere is under our control and we shall do something about 
that ship."
        Both the U.S. navy and Dubai-based ship operator Vela International 
said they could not confirm a media report the hijackers were demanding a 
$25-million ransom. That would be the biggest demand to date by pirates who 
prey on boats in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia.
        A pirate identifying himself as Jamii Adam told the Saudi-owned Asharq 
al-Awsat newspaper that negotiations were taking place with the ship's owners, 
saying the ransom demanded was not excessive but declining to give a figure.
        He said it had cost the pirates $500,000 to seize the vessel. "We bore 
many costs to hijack it," he said.
        Iran's biggest shipping firm said gunmen holding a Hong Kong-flagged 
ship carrying wheat and 25 crew members had set demands for its release, but it 
did not reveal what they were.
        An upsurge of attacks this year has forced up shipping insurance costs, 
made some firms go round South Africa instead of via the Suez Canal, brought 
millions in ransom payments, and prompted an international naval response.
        Pirates released a commercial vessel with 19 crew on board which had 
been hijacked in September, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Sea-
        farers' Association said Friday. Mwangura said the crew were Romanians, 
but Romanian authorities denied this. Interfax news agency said the crew 
included six Georgian citizens.
        In Mogadishu, police said they laid in wait and shot dead 17 fighters 
from the militant al-Shabaab insurgent group during an attempted attack on a 
senior official. The Islamists have been fighting the government and its 
Ethiopian allies for about two years. They launch near-daily guerrilla strikes 
in the capital and control most of the south, including a town just 14 
kilometres from Mogadishu.
        The elder in Haradheere port told Reuters the Islamists arrived wanting 
to find out immediately about the Sirius Star, which was captured Saturday 
about 450 nautical miles off Kenya in the pirates' furthest strike to date.
        "The Islamists arrived searching for the pirates and the whereabouts of 
the Saudi ship," said the elder, who declined to be named. "I saw four cars 
full of Islamists driving in the town from corner to corner. The Islamists say 
they will attack the pirates for hijacking a Muslim ship."




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