FREE TANKER OR ELSE ...

DANGEROUS WATERS: The Saudi-owned Sirius Star tanker that was hijacked by Somali pirates is the largest vessel to have been seized in a string of incidents this year. Circa 11/2008. © Unknown.
DANGEROUS WATERS: The Saudi-owned Sirius Star tanker that was hijacked by Somali pirates is the largest vessel to have been seized in a string of incidents this year. Circa 11/2008. © Unknown.

MOGADISHU - Somali Islamist fighters yesterday urged pirates holding a Saudi super-tanker to free the ship or face armed action.

MOGADISHU - Somali Islamist fighters yesterday urged pirates holding a Saudi super-tanker to free the ship or face armed action.

"If the pirates want peace, they had better release the tanker," Sheikh Ahmed, a spokesman for the Shebab group in Harardhere, said.

The Sirius Star, a huge tanker carrying about $100million (R1billion) worth of crude oil and owned by Saudi Aramco, was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean on November 15.

Pirates have since anchored it off their base in Harardhere and have demanded a ransom of $25million (R262million) be paid by Sunday.

The Shebab (youth) armed group controls much of southern and central Somalia, and has positioned fighters in and around Harardhere in recent days.

Islamist leaders have stressed that piracy is a capital offence in Islam and officially condemned the surge in acts of piracy in Somalia's waters.

A member of the pirate group holding the Sirius Star retorted that his men were not afraid of the Shebab's threats.

"We are the Shebab of the sea and we can't be scared by the Shebab of the land," Mohamed Said said. "If anybody attempts to attack, that would be suicide."

Some residents in Harardhere say that the Shebab are divided over the issue of piracy and that some of the Islamist fighters have moved into the region only to claim a share of the ransom. - Sapa-AFP

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X