Pirates may face US trial for 4 dead
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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.


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

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