Kidnapped Somali pirates believed held at King’s Lynn yacht club

The mystery of the whereabouts of two missing Somali pirates is one step nearer to being solved today after a ransom demand sent via satellite phone to warlords in Garowe, in the breakaway Somali region of Puntland, was traced back to the vicinity of a Norfolk yacht club.

‘We ask for the sum of one million pounds for the release of our prisoners, to be paid in US dollars,’ demanded the kidnappers’ spokesman, who only identified himself as ‘Mr. Derek Henderson.’ ‘They are being well treated, but until we receive the money we will keep them in the B&B opposite the marina – er, I mean locked up at a secret location.’

Mahmud Yusuf Muhammad and Abdullahi Muse Hirsi were scouting for Saudi oil tankers in the Indian Ocean last month when their lightly-armed fishing boat was cut off from the rest of the pirate fleet by a P & O cruiser en-route to Mombassa from Port Victoria in the Seychelles. It is thought that the pair were overpowered by British tourists wielding shuffleboard brooms and were hauled onto the ship before they had chance to send an SOS to their colleagues.

Reports suggest that the pirates were kept locked in a Premier class cabin with colour TV/DVD player, tea/coffee maker and sea view for several days while the kidnappers enjoyed a pre-booked Kenyan safari. Upon their captors return they were then subjected to a harrowing regime of karaoke, bingo and onboard entertainments as the cruiser made its way back to Southampton. Upon disembarking the Somalis were bundled into a Nissan Almera people carrier by a group of middle aged passengers, and were last seen heading off along the M3.

Since then the Puntland authorities have been working with British police in an effort to find their compatriots. However, according to one piracy expert, it is unlikely that they will see them again until the ransom is paid. ‘The kidnappers are middle-aged, middle-class Britons and therefore have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Somali pirates make millions from their activities – rich and tempting pickings for a cruiser full of tourists hoping to recoup the arm and a leg that it cost them in holiday insurance to go on an Indian Ocean cruise in the first place.’

(Written 29 Oct 2009)

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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