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Africa

Russian navy captures armed Somali pirates

Latest update : 2009-02-13

A Russian cruiser has captured three pirate boats off the coast of Somalia and have detained ten pirates who were found armed with grenade launchers, automatic rifles and landmines on board.

AFP - A Russian nuclear-powered cruiser has captured 10 Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean armed with grenade launchers, automatic rifles and landmines, a navy spokesman said Friday.

"The nuclear cruiser Pyotr Veliky has detained three small pirate boats," said Igor Dygalo, adding that 10 armed men of Somali citizenship were seized in the operation Thursday.

The pirates had been spotted by the cruiser's helicopter southeast of the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, the spokesman told AFP.

"It was visually established how weapons were being dumped from the boats into the sea," Dygalo said in a separate statement.

He added that the navy managed to confiscate grenade launchers, automatic rifles, landmines and 500 grammes of a "narcotic substance," among other things.

The news of the Somali pirates' detention comes as the crew of a Ukrainian ship captured by Somali pirates arrived home at Kiev airport on Friday after a 19-week hijacking ordeal.

The MV Faina, released last week, docked Thursday in Mombasa with its exhausted crew of 17 Ukrainians, two Russians and one Latvian and controversial cargo of tanks and munitions.

The Russian military prosecutors were now investigating the pirates' case adding it would be then up to the Russian foreign and justice ministries to determine their fate.

Date created : 2009-02-13