News sources indicate that Somali authorities have seized two aircraft carrying $3.6 million in ransom payments for pirates on Tuesday and detained six foreigners.
Somali government officials claimed that two unmarked planes landed and exchanged cargo. “After investigation, $3.6 million were found,” Abdi Sheikhur Sheikh Hassan, Somalia’s interior and security minister said in a statement.
An official at Mogadishu airport said one of the planes had flown in from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, while they were yet to determine the origin of the second. “We seized the two planes and their pilots plus the ransom for the pirates,” airport deputy security chief Burhan Mohamed told the press.
“We have taken the men and their cash to the jail. One plane was from Nairobi and it wanted to give the money to the pirates using another plane that landed soon after,” he said.
It was not immediately clear which hijacked vessel was involved in the ransom payment.
However in separate news reports it has been revealed that sources had quoted “the ordeal of Indian sailors onboard Egyptian ship, “MV Suez” which was captured by Somali pirates on August 2 last year, could soon come to an end.” Family told the press that a ransom amount had been negotiated and was expected to be paid imminently.
The ship’s crew includes six Indians, four Pakistanis, four Sri Lankans and 11 Egyptians, but it would appear increasingly unlikely they will be freed as quickly as had been hoped, if indeed the seized cash was intended to purchase their freedom.