March 31, 2010 / 5:59 PM / 10 years ago

Somali pirates seize Indian dhow off Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, March 31 (Reuters) - Somali pirates hijacked a small Indian trade boat, the Al-Barari, as it left Mogadishu port, but another boat that was also attacked managed to escape, traders and officials said on Wednesday.

“Pirates attacked two boats that left Mogadishu seaport on Tuesday. One boat escaped and came back to the seaport,” Hassan Ahmed, chief superintendent at Mogadishu port, told Reuters.

Last weekend, Somali pirates captured seven of the small Indian boats known as dhows, with a total of 100 crew.

India said on Tuesday it was trying to trace the whereabouts of the boats and their sailors.

A trader in the capital confirmed Wednesday’s hijacking.

“It had unloaded food and medicine at the port. Two boats were sailing away from the seaport, one escaped the attack and returned to the port and the other was taken,” said Bashir Hassan, a Somali trader.

Sea gangs operating off Somalia have stepped up attacks in recent months, making tens of millions of dollars in ransom from hijacking vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. (Reporting by Ibrahim Mohamed and Abdi Guled; Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton) (nairobi.newsroom@reuters.com, +254 20 222 4717))

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