Pirates may face US trial for 4 dead

Last Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 00:59

Nairobi: A US military spokesman said Wednesday
it was possible that 15 pirates detained after the killing of
four American yacht enthusiasts could be sent to the United
States to face trial.

Pirates in Somalia, meanwhile, said they were on
heightened alert today after the violent end to the American
hostage standoff. Pirates said they ferried more ammunition
and fighters on board hijacked ships in their hands, and they
threatened to kill hostages if international warships
approached.

The military, FBI and Justice Department are working
on the next steps for the 15 pirates detained yesterday, said
Bob Prucha, a spokesman for US Central Command in Florida. The
Somalis are currently being held on the aircraft carrier USS
Enterprise, which is in the waters off East Africa.

A pirate aboard the hijacked yacht Quest yesterday
fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a US warship that had
responded to last Friday`s hijacking. Then gunfire broke out
aboard the yacht. When Navy special forces reached the Quest,
they found the four American hostages had been shot and
killed.

The FBI is investigating the killings of Phyllis Macay
and Bob Riggle of Seattle, Washington, and Jean and Scott Adam
of Marina del Rey, near Los Angeles, who had made their home
aboard their 58-foot yacht Quest since December 2004.

Prucha couldn`t say whether the FBI had yet interviewed the 15
suspects.

The killings came less than a week after a Somali
pirate was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison by a New
York court for the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. That
hijacking ended when Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates
holding the ship`s captain.

Pirates reacted angrily to the sentencing and have
since vowed that they will kill hostages before being captured
during military raids and being sent to face trial.

That could represent a serious change from the time
when pirates were believed to be disgruntled and financially
motivated Somali fishermen angry that international trawlers
were illegally fishing Somalia`s waters.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 00:59

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