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Russian destroyer captures 29 Somali pirates: reports

A Russian naval destroyer has seized 29 suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, the defence ministry said, according to Russian news agencies.

world Updated: Apr 29, 2009 08:12 IST

A Russian naval destroyer has seized 29 suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, the defence ministry said, according to Russian news agencies.

"The Admiral Panteleev (destroyer) captured on Tuesday at 1412 GMT (1942 IST) a boat carrying pirates. In total, 29 people were arrested," the ministry said in a statement.

"Seven Kalachnikov machine-guns, handguns of different calibres, equipment including satellite navigation devices and a large number of empty shells were discovered on board the boat," the ministry said, adding that an investigation has been opened.

These arrests would dwarf the numbers seized in other recent operations by international military forces patrolling the waters off the Gulf of Aden in the last year.

The question of where any eventual trial for the 29 might take place will also come to the fore.

Trials relating to a spiralling upsurge in pirate attacks in the region over the last year are largely being hosted by Kenya, following agreements with the European Union, the United States and Britain.

Eleven Somalis are currently awaiting trial in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa for piracy after their high-seas arrest by the French navy deny.

But a Somali teenager captured by US forces in a high-seas drama is to stand trial in New York on piracy charges -- the first in the US for a century -- that could put him in jail for life.

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