Somalia: Puntland Forces Rescue 22 hostages from Pirates

PRESS RELEASE
23 December 2012

Puntland government forces conducting a humanitarian rescue operation have safely rescued 22 hostages on board the MV Iceberg 1 vessel.

Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) units laid siege to the MV Iceberg 1 vessel beginning on Dec. 10 near Gara’ad coastal village of Mudug region and the operation concluded successfully today when all 22 hostages were released, after a two-week period of fighting pirates and laying siege to the vessel.

After 2 years and 9 months in captivity, the hostages have suffered signs of physical torture and illness. The hostages are now receiving nutrition and medical care.

Separately, a group of 8 Puntland soldiers responsible for briefly hijacking a government-impounded, North Korea-flagged vessel MV Daesan and its 33- member crew have been jailed by the Puntland military court on Dec. 22.

The soldiers were guarding the MV Daesan when they hijacked the vessel from the Port of Bossaso on Dec. 18. Puntland Government managed to return the vessel back to the port within 24 hours; the soldiers were arrested and will be brought to justice.

The brief hijacking of the MV Daesan was a political and security conspiracy architected by politically motivated elements and pirates intending to divert attention from the PMPF operation to rescue the MV Iceberg 1 hostages.

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