Evidence Stacks Up

News sources in South Korea claim that the fingerprints of a Somali pirate, suspected of shooting a South Korean master during a rescue operation last month, matched those on a confiscated gun.

The Busan District Prosecutors’ Office said that it has identified the fingerprints left on an AK-42 rifle as those of Arai Mahomed, one of the five pirates captured alive during a Jan. 21 Navy commando operation in the Arabian Sea.He denies the charges.

“DNA analysis results were released last week … and (Mohamed) Arai’s fingerprints were found on an AK rifle,” said Jeong Jeom-shik, a senior prosecutor and leader of the investigation.

The DNA match, however, is not critical proof of the shooting as the pirates, including Mahomed, had already confessed to touching the guns, while denying firing at the captain using the gun.

Although the pirates in general cooperated with the prosecution’s investigation, investigators said they have much difficulty in grilling them through interpreters as two staff members have confessed to fatigue over excessive hours of work over the past week.

After completing questioning on the pirates and related people, prosecutors will be able to press criminal charges against suspects later this month, officials noted.

The 58-year-old captain, Seok Hae-kyun, sustained multiple gunshot wounds, including one from a pirate’s gun and one from a stray bullet from the South Korean Navy during the crossfire of the gun battle with the pirates. Captain Seok has undergone several surgeries and still remains unconscious at Ajou University Hospital in Suwon, south of Seoul.

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