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S Korea considering pirate-handling agreement with Somalia

South Korea is considering forging agreements with some neighboring countries of Somalia to seek their help in handling captured pirates, an official said.



Seoul: South Korea is considering forging
agreements with some neighboring countries of Somalia to seek
their help in handling captured pirates, an official said
on Wednesday.

The move came after Seoul was unable to find a country
willing to accept the five pirates captured in last month`s
commando operation to free the South Korean freighter Samho
Jewelry and its 21-member crew.

The pirates were then brought to South Korea for
investigation and trial.

"Wouldn`t it be difficult to continue to bring captured
pirates here if our ships are seized by Somali pirates again?"
a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

"We`re considering forging an MOU (memorandum of
understanding) with one or two coastal nations near Somalia,"
he said.

The government hopes for an agreement that calls for the
partner nation to take captured pirates and punish them on
South Korea`s behalf. But details of an agreement could differ
depending on negotiations, as countries could be reluctant to
get involved in piracy issues or could request economic aid in
return.

Seoul is considering building a detention center or
expanding development aid to partner countries.

The five pirates under investigation in South Korea were
among a total of 13 that seized the chemical carrier on
January 15. Six days after the hijacking, South Korean navy
commandos stormed the ship, killing eight pirates and
capturing the five.

All 21 crew members were rescued alive, though the ship`s
captain was seriously wounded.

After about a week-long investigation, maritime police
referred the pirates to prosecutors.

Under South Korean law, the pirates could be sentenced to
at least five years in prison for hijacking the ship and life
imprisonment or even death for shooting at the captain from a
close distance.

PTI

From Zee News

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