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Pirates seize Indian dhow off Somalia

world Updated: May 25, 2007 16:37 IST
Reuters
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Pirates captured an Indian dhow close to the Somali capital Mogadishu, a Kenyan maritime official said on Friday, in the latest raid off one of the world's most dangerous coastlines.

Andrew Mwangura, director of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said he had no information about the crew or cargo aboard the vessel, the Al Haqeeq.

"The only information we have is that she was seized outside the port of Mogadishu. It's an Indian dhow," Mwangura told Reuters by phone.

Piracy has been rampant off Somalia since the country descended into lawlessness after warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

The US Navy recently warned merchant ships to stay at least 200 nautical miles clear of the Somali coast after a spate of attacks, including one in which militia fired on a vessel with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.

Pirate attacks have grown since Islamists, who brought a semblance of law and order during their six-month rule last year, were ousted in January.

The United Nations has called for international action against a "plague of piracy" off Somalia and said it threatened to cut vital supplies of aid to 1 million people.

Many pirates claim to be coastguards protecting their waters against illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste.

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