26/05/07 (B397) BBC Libération par les autorités du Puntland de l’envoyé spécial égyptien en Somalie qui était retenu par les pirates – Egyptian envoy freed from Somalia (Info lectrice – en Anglais)

ambassador to Somalia Saeed Mosry has been freed by the authorities in Somali’s
Puntland region after being held captive for five days.

Ahmed al-Azahary, from Egypt’s embassy in Nairobi said the envoy was released
after the intervention of Puntland leader Ade Mosse.

Mr Mosry was negotiating the release of three Egyptian vessels and their crew
arrested for illegal fishing.

Piracy has increased in Somalia after the removal of Islamists last December.

They had clamped down on the activities of pirates, who had made the Somali
coast one of the most dangerous in the world.

In total seven cargo ships, including one chartered by the World Food Programme
(WFP) to deliver relief supplies have been hijacked by pirates off the coast
of Somalia since the beginning of the year.

« The ambassador successfully negotiated the release of three our fishing
boats and the 60 crew who had been arrested but was detained after funds wired
to settle the fine delayed, » Mr al-Azahry said.

Reports say the authorities in Puntland – a semi-autonomous republic – had
fined the vessel owners $300,000 but it is not clear how much has been paid.

‘Safe haven’

Meanwhile, an Indian dhow, Msv Caqid, was hijacked on Wednesday night just
after delivering cargo to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Programme
said little information is available about the boat and the size of the crew
on board.

Maritime officials claim investigations have revealed that the pirates are
enjoying a safe haven in Puntland and demanding that the leaders of the regional
administration give explanation of the rising piracy incidents.

Most of the ships hijacked by pirates in Somalia were released following the
intervention by Puntland elders.