Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Seven Somalis accused of firing on a German ship off the coast of Yemen have been handed over to authorities in Kenya where they will be judged, Berlin said on Wednesday. The men will appear before a judge for a preliminary hearing on Thursday morning, foreign ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner told a regular briefing, after a German court issued arrest warrants earlier Wednesday."This morning (Wednesday) Kenyan prosecutors agreed in principle to take in the seven suspected pirates," Ploetner said.

This comes at a time when US Operated Container Vessel M/V ALABAMA was hijacked by the pirates off the coast of Somalia, with 21 US Crew, enroute to Mombasa, Kenya. The Crew are said to have briefly regained control of the vessel but later, reporters heard that it is only the captain who is hostage to the pirates. Most of these Somali pirates are well equipped with mortars and hand grenades. Their first intention to capture these vessels was brought about by several complains from Somalis that Somalia water is ill monitored and many countries deplete Somalia sea resources in the absence of a stronger government which is taking time to stablilize.

The seven were picked up late last month by Greek and Spanish forces from a European anti-pirate unit off Somalia after they reportedly tried to capture a German oil tanker, the FGS Spessart, off southern Yemen. The group was then transferred to a German frigate, which arrived in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa with the men shortly after 1030 GMT on Wednesday, Ploetner said.

Kenyan police were on board the vessel to review the evidence against the suspects, he added.