Tensions Escalate

With the arrival of a warship off the Somali coast near the location where seven Danish hostages are being held, tensions in the area have begun to rise.

One Somali official warned that any rescue attempt could endanger the hostages.

The Danish family — a couple and their three children — were captured by pirates Feb. 24 in the Indian Ocean. Pirates say the Danes, including two crew members, have since been moved to Somalia’s mainland.

Said Aden Ali, the mayor of the coastal village of Bandarbeyla, said a warship appeared Monday about 1.5 miles (2 kilometres) off shore. He said he feared a military might launch a rescue attempt.

“I warn against any action that could endanger the lives of the innocent hostages,” he said. “Military actions should be the last resort. We’re trying to solve the problem in a peaceful manner and with the help of clan elders.”

Ali said the Danes are being held in a mountainous area inland called Hul Anod. Their captors, he said, only want money and will not pursue violence unless they feel threatened.

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