Soldiers from Somalia's Puntland region stormed a Panama-flagged cargo vessel held by pirates, but gang members killed the captain in the operation, a minister said on Thursday.
"Our troops stormed the Panama-flagged vessel and engaged the pirates. There was brief fighting before they defeated them," Said Mohamed Raage, Minister of Ports and Marine Transport, told Reuters. "We arrested seven pirates after they killed the captain of the ship."
Semi-autonomous Puntland is a base for sea gangs targeting the Gulf of Aden, but is more peaceful than the rest of the failed Horn of Africa state.
Pirates seized the MV QSM Dubai cargo ship and its 24 crew members from Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Ghana on Wednesday.
The 15,220 deadweight tonne vessel was taken inside the internationally recommended transit corridor and had come from Brazil.
Raage said the ship was carrying sugar to Bossaso.