US condemns killing of its four nationals by Somali pirates

The four were the first Americans killed in a wave of pirate attacks in recent years.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2011, 11:45 AM IST

Washington: Condemning the killing of its
four nationals by Somali pirates, US has said this deplorable
act underscores the need for a continued international effort
towards confronting the shared security challenge posed by the
piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

"The United States strongly condemns the murder of its
four citizens, whose yacht, the Quest, was seized by pirates
off the coast of Oman.

This deplorable act firmly underscores the need for
continued international progress towards confronting the
shared security challenge posed by piracy in the waters off
the Horn of Africa," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

The US will honour their memory by continuing to
strengthen international partnerships in order to bring these
maritime criminals to justice, she said.

Hillary said US encourages those members of the
international community concerned about stability in Somalia
and piracy to contribute to AMISOM by providing material,
financial, and logistical support.

The US also encourages additional African contributions
to the The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
peacekeeping force, she added.

Later State Department spokesman P J Crowley said, the
ultimate solution to the piracy challenge rests on land.

"The US is not only supporting the Transitional Federal
Government, the TFG, in its efforts; it has also engaged
authorities in Somaliland and Puntland to try to help bring
stability", he said.

The US forces have captured 13 pirates, while there were
already two pirates in US custody.

These are now being turned over to the Department of
Justice to determine the status and future legal consequences.
"We take the prosecution of these pirates very seriously.

We just had a successful conviction of the lone survivor of
the Maersk incident from last year. He just received a
sentence in a New York court of 33 years," Crowley said.

The four were the first Americans killed in a wave of
pirate attacks in recent years.

PTI