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Somali Pirates Free Taiwanese Fishing Boat

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry says Somali pirates have freed a Taiwanese fishing boat held since last April. The Win Far 161 and its crew were released Thursday.   The French news agency, AFP, quotes a maritime monitoring group - Ecoterra International - as saying a ransom was paid, but the amount was not immediately clear. The group also says three of the 30 crew members did not survive the ordeal.

Al-Qaida Group in Yemen Reaches Out to Somali Rebels

A Yemen-based al-Qaida group is calling for regional coordination with rebels in Somalia.  The governments of both countries are facing powerful insurgencies from Islamist forces. The deputy commander of the militant group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Said Ali al-Shihri, has issued an audio statement urging the Somali al-Shabab militants to join with his group in blocking U.S. maritime shipments to Israel. Yemen sits only 30 kilometers across the ocean from Somalia's smaller northern neighbor Djibouti.

Terror Attacks Continue to Traumatize Somalis

In recent years, the rise of the militant al-Shabab group in Somalia, an al-Qaida ally fighting to implement its ultraconservative version of Islam in the Horn of Africa, has been accompanied by suicide and roadside bombings that have horrified Somalis, even those long accustomed to violence. In the Somali capita of Mogadishu, the threat of terrorism has not only altered the city's landscape in some areas, it has changed how the few Somalis still remaining in Mogadishu think and behave.    Just a few years ago, streets in the capital were so congested at times, drivers used to have to bu

Pirates Hijack Vessel Near Somalia

The European Union's anti-piracy naval force says Somali pirates have hijacked a North Korean-flagged cargo ship. The EU force says hijackers seized the MV Rim Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden, just south of the Yemeni coast.  In a statement, the EU force says the vessel has altered course and is now heading towards the Somali basin. The statement says investigators are not certain how many crew members are on board the Libyan-owned ship, and do not know the nationalities of crew members.

Violence Marks Somali Government's Year Anniversary

January 29 was supposed to have been a day of celebration. In the sprawling presidential compound known as Villa Somalia, preparations had been made to mark the one-year anniversary of the new transitional government with poetry readings and a military parade.

Al-Shabab Attacks Peacekeeping Hospital in Somalia

Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a hospital run by the African Union peacekeeping force.

Six Dead In Somali Pirate Fights Over Ransom

At least six people have been killed in fighting among Somali pirates over a record ransom paid for a hijacked ship. Witnesses say at least four people were killed and several others were wounded Monday as pirates battled in the town of Harardhere. In addition, two pirates were killed Sunday when rival pirate gangs clashed on the hijacked ship, the MV Maran Centaurus. Harardhere was calm Tuesday after local elders mediated between factions of pirates. The pirates received between $5 and $7 million to free the Greek-flagged oil tanker and its 28 crew members on Monday. P

Record Ransom Frees Hijacked Tanker off Somali Coast

A record ransom payment has secured the release of a massive oil tanker seized in November by Somali pirates.  Piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia nearly doubled in 2009 from the previous year. The Maran Centaurus was the second-largest vessel ever captured and was carrying an estimated $2 million barrels of oil. The pirates claim they received $5.5 million for the ship's freedom, but a separate figure places the amount dropped on the ship at $7 million.  Both are believed to exceed any previous figure paid to the Somali sea bandits. Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa

Pirate Attacks Off Somalia Nearly Double

The International Maritime Bureau in London reports piracy incidents on the high seas increased nearly 40 percent in 2009 from a year ago.  Pirate activities off the coast of Somalia accounted for more than half of all attacks worldwide. In its annual report, the maritime watchdog said the number of attacks off the coast of Somalia doubled in 2009 from 111 to 217.   According to the bureau, pirates successfully hijacked 47 of those vessels and took 867 crew members hostage, earning them untold millions in ransom payments. The director of the International Maritime Bureau, Captain Potteng

Rival Somali Islamic Militias Clash in Power Struggle

After two days of clashes, a military commander for the Sufi militia, Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, says his forces have seized the town of Beledweyne in the Hiran region from Hizbul Islam rebels. The commander, Aden Mohamoud, says both sides took heavy casualties in what residents describe as among the worst fighting there in recent months.  Mohamoud says Ahlu-Sunna forces are in full control of Beledweyne and the town is now calm. The fighting broke out Sunday after Ahlu-Sunna fighters and local clan militias launched an offensive to capture Beledweyne, a strategic town near the border with

AU to Ask UN to Focus on Somalia's Global Terrorism Role

The African Union is urging the United Nations to boost its support for Somalia's fragile government in view of the rise of terrorist activity in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula. AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping calls the overall security situation in the Horn of Africa nation "unstable, volatile and challenging'. In a report to the AU Peace and Security Council Friday, Ping notes several tragic security breakdowns in the past few months.

Al-Qaida Militants Retreat from Strategic Somali Town

Somalia's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants say they have made a tactical retreat from Dhusamareb, the central Somali town al-Shabab attacked three days ago in a bid to oust a rival Islamist group.  Al-Shabab views Dhusamareb as an important stepping stone in its quest to put all of Somalia under al-Shabab control. The spokesman of the Islamist militia Ahlu-Sunna Wal-Jamaa, Sheik Abdullahi Sheik Abu Yusuf, says al-Shabab was forced to withdraw from Dhusamareb after losing numerous fighters during Saturday's day-long battle.   Abu Yusuf says more than 100 bodies of al-Shabab fighters ha

Al-Shabab Militants Divided over Tactics, Foreign Control

A rising dispute between militants in Somalia may have split the country's al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group into two factions.

Somali Pirates Release Greek-Owned Ship

Somali pirates have released a Greek-owned cargo ship and its 24 Ukrainian crew members after seven months in captivity. The director of Greek shipping firm Alloceans Shipping , Spyros Minas, says pirates freed the Ariana Thursday, after the company paid a ransom. In Kiev, Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko also announced the crew's release. The shipping company did not reveal the size of the ransom, but pirates told reporters the amount was more than $2.5 million. Pirates have continued to hijack vessels despite the presence of foreign naval patrols near Somalia. They are st

Al-Shabab Denies Responsibility for Deadly Bombing

Militant Islamist group al-Shabab has denied responsibility for a deadly suicide blast Thursday that killed at least 22 people, including 3 government ministers and a number of Somalia's educated elite.