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11 Somali pirates seized

BRUSSELS, March 5 – A naval warship captured 11 suspected Somali pirates and destroyed two of their skiffs on Friday in the Indian Ocean, an EU naval mission spokesman said.

The European Union\’s Atalanta anti-piracy mission set off in pursuit following an aborted attack on a French merchant vessel on Thursday, near the scene of another attack on a Spanish trawler repelled by armed private guards, John Harbour told AFP.

Three suspect boats – a mother ship and two skiffs – were located, and their occupants ditched material overboard when the French warship, the Nivose, and its helicopter approached, he indicated.

"We discovered a suspected pirate action group," EU-NAVFOR spokesman Harbour said. "The helicopter approached the pirates and saw them throwing objects overboard.

"Clearly they were suspected pirates. The frigate destroyed the mother ship and one of the skiffs and has taken 11 suspected pirates on board."

A subsequent statement said the incident took place some 350 nautical miles east of the Somali coast, between the Seychelles and Mombasa, in Kenya.

Items found included "a rocket launcher, grappling hooks and several fuel barrels."
The 11 were in the custody of the EU forces.

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