Four pirates holding Danish sailors 'detained'

Ing crew the Johansen family kidnapped by Somali pirates
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Four of the pirates holding hostage a group of seven Danes have been detained by security forces of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region. Early this month, at least six Puntland soldiers were killed in an unsuccessful attempt to free the hostages.

The family of five cruising sailors and two Danish crew were seized Feb. 24 as they were attempting a trip around the world in their yacht ING.

'It is great honor for our security forces to try to rescue the Danish family. We have detained four of those pirates as we are on the way to unchain and free the seven Danes as soon as possible,' the region's president, Abdurrahman Sheikh Mohamoud Farole, told reporters in Garowe after having met with Augustine Mahiga, the United Nations special representative to Somalia.

In an interview with BBC Somali service, Gen. Ali Nur Omar, Puntland’s police chief, said that Puntland authorities are committed to free the Danish family held captive by what he called Somalia’s sea gangs, spelling out that their forces sustained casualties. However, he did not specify the number of pirate casualties.

However, Ahmed Ugas, a Somali parliamentarian who lived for many years in Denmark, said any further attempts to rescue the Danes may end in the same way as four American citizens who were killed by pirates after a U.S. warship approached them.

The MP hailed Somali pirates to release all seven Danish hostages unconditionally, recounting the thousands of Somalis who had been allowed refugee by the Danish government and live freely in Denmark.

Separately, the president revealed the security situation in the town of Galka’yo in the Mudug region is getting better. He praised police forces there for their efforts in reducing unrest..

Farole said police in Galka’yo have overcome and curbed the rampant insecurity by fighting pirates, gangs and extremists. He called on them to keep on fighting all those elements and assure tranquility of the town.