UN greenlights Somali land ops as two more ships are hijacked

New York: The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution for the first time authorizing international land operations against the pirates sheltering in Somalia.

The text, co-sponsored by the US, Belgium, France, Greece, Liberia and South Korea, gives those nations already involved in battling pirates off Somalia a one-year mandate to act against the brigands inside the country. Resolution 1851 authorizes the states to “take all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia” to suppress “acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.” However, to overcome objections from countries such as Indonesia an earlier reference in the text to “ashore” or “including in its (Somalia) airspace” was dropped. Pirates on Wednesday hijacked a Turkish cargo ship and a Malaysian tug boat and attacked three other vessels in the Gulf of Aden in the past week, a global maritime watchdog said. The latest incidents came as a European Union naval task force took over from a NATO operation patrolling the pirate-infested seas near the Horn of Africa with six warships and three surveillance planes. In the first hijacking, pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons boarded a Malaysian tug on Tuesday, Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur told AFP. The tug with 11 crew on board was heading to Malaysia from the Middle East. Choong said a Turkish cargo ship was hijacked, also in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, by a gang of pirates who fired automatic weapons from two speed boats.

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