10/07/08 (B455) BBC Après la libération d’un batiment allemand, un cargo ukrainien a été libéré contre une rançon de US $. Mais un autre navire aurait été arraisonné en même temps – Un chauffeur de Poids lourd du Pam tué / Somali pirates profit from ransom (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The seas off Somalia have some of the highest rates of piracy in the world

Pirates in northern Somalia have freed a Ukrainian ship and its 14-member crew for a ransom of $800,000 (£400,000), officials in the region say.

As the vessel’s release was secured, another ship was taken in Puntland off the most northerly tip of the country.

The BBC’s Ahmed Mohamed Ali in Puntland says these developments follow the recent release of German ship MV Lehmann Timber for $750,000 (£375,000).

The seas off Somalia have some of the highest rates of piracy in the world.

Our correspondent says the name of the ship taken hostage on Tuesday evening is not yet known.

Eyewitnesses say it is heading in a southerly direction towards Eyl on the Somali coast.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and has been wracked by civil strife.

Meanwhile, prominent peace activist and businessman Ali Jama Bihi has been shot dead in the central town of Galkayo.

The killing sparked protests in the town but it is not clear who was responsible.

Driver killed

In June, the UN Security Council voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia’s waters to tackle the pirates.

Pirates often target ships carrying food aid, meaning donors sometimes send aid overland instead, which is far more expensive.

The UN has warned that nearly half of Somalia’s population is likely to require aid later this year, following drought compounded by the insecurity.

On Monday, World Food Programme Ahmed Saalim was shot dead at a militia checkpoint.

He is the fourth WFP driver to be killed this year.