Somali pirates want prisoner swap

Somali pirates holding a Panama-flagged vessel hijacked last month with goods destined for Somaliland have called for fellow pirates in jails in the breakaway enclave to be freed in return for the ship’s release.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 and has enjoyed relative stability compared to the rest of Somalia but remains unrecognised internationally.

A man called Yusuf Ali, who said he was among the gang of pirates holding the MV Leila, told Horn Cable TV on Monday the pirates hope to get a small ransom for the ship, but also want the authorities in Somaliland to release their comrades.

“We will not release the ship until the prisoners are released. Somaliland harasses us and jails us for 20 years while in Yemen we only serve 7 years,” said Yusuf Ali, speaking from an undisclosed location.

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Story written by Hussein Ali Noor, courtesy of Reuters.

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