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EU to free hundreds of pirates in Somalia - Report

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Tuesday April 27, 2010 - 21:27:02 in Featured Items by Super Admin
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    EU to free hundreds of pirates in Somalia - Report

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Politics Elizabeth Tristan

Madrid (Sunatimes)- The frigates and patrol boats of Operation Atalanta, the European Union's mission to fight piracy in the Indian Ocean, have for months been releasing on the beaches of Somalia the pirates they capture on board the mother ships and skiffs used to attack and hijack fishing boats and merchant ships.

Military sources consulted by ABC admit that, in the last quarter alone, at least 200 pirates were returned to the coasts from which they depart to commit their crimes. After sinking their vessels, the Atalanta ships take the pirates closer to the shore or allow them to leave by their own means. It is what the Spanish frigate Victoria did last Sunday [25 April] with eight criminals captured on a whaling boat, the second in 10 days: they destroyed it and left its crew members on an auxiliary skiff so that they could reach the coast.


It is the negative part of an operation which is a success in terms of arrests (250 detainees is the official figure) and of the dismantling of the organized gangs. At the beginning of the year Kenya refused to receive any more pirates for trial in the country, even though it has a specific agreement with the EU. The Kenyan authorities said they were saturated and now the high representative for the EU's foreign and security policy, Catherine Ashton, is seeking agreements for the
countries close to Somalia - like Mauritius, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda and Mozambique - to take in the pirates arrested.

The EU defence ministers, meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, expressed their full support for the mission entrusted to Ashton and confirmed that, until there is another solution, Atalanta's vessels will have to continue acting as in recent months.

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