Islamic rebels seeking to take control of Somalia have seized a key coastal village used by pirates, leaving the fate of some 360 hostages in doubt. Members of Hizbul-Islam entered Haradhere over the weekend, prompting pirates to flee the area. A BBC News reporter said at least 60 hostages from three vessels were moved up the coast, but that still left another 300 captives unaccounted for.
International fight against piracy … French forces with Somali pirates captured in the Gulf of Aden.
Publicly, Hizbul-Islam fighters, who arrived in Haradhere after themselves being driven out of the port town of Kismayo by another Islamist group, has said it wants to end piracy as part of its goal to establish Sharia law in Somalia. Hizbul-Islam also opposes prostitution, drugs and alcohol, all of which were widespread under pirate rule.
But there are unconfirmed reports that the group tried previously to cut a deal with pirates and share in the ransom money. The New York Times has reported that pirates may have collected as much as $100 million in ransoms, making their work an enticing source of revenue.
Colonel Gaddafi has a firm grip on power in Libya (Luca Zanetti Tripoli / Tripolitania)
Two Swiss detained for more than a year in Libya have received exit visas, nearly a week after a controversial diplomatic mission by Switzerland’s president.
Authorities said on Wednesday that the men still needed the permission of Libya’s judicial authorities before they can leave. They confirmed a Swiss government jet had landed in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday.
Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz received a written note from the Libyan prime minister, Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi, on Wednesday assuring him it was “a matter of time” before the men would be allowed out of the country, Merz’s finance ministry said.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, the ministry said a Swiss delegation had met the two men in Tripoli late on Tuesday.
“During the course of the evening, the passports and exit visas were handed over to both of the detainees. The final hurdle is that of obtaining the approval of the justice authorities for the departure,” it said.
The return of the two Swiss businessmen is linked to an agreement Merz signed after a meeting with the Libyan prime minister last Tuesday.
The Swiss president apologised for the “unjustified” arrest of leader Moammar Gaddafi’s son and daughter-in-law in Geneva in July 2008.
The pact between the two countries â€“ Merz signed versions in English and Arabic â€“ prompted an outcry and sparked concerns about violations of national law and rules governing the collective decision-making process of the government. Continued below:
In a massive secret operation, Berlin sent members of its elite GSG-9 police force to Somalia to free hostages and a German freighter captured by pirates there, but the commandos were called off before the rescue effort could begin. The scuppered operation reveals deficits in Germany’s security forces.
* You can smear Ronald Reagan all you like, but he did the right thing when he bombed the megalomanic, inbred despot of Libya, who sired this PoS in the picture below by the name of Hannibal. Â If anything, Â you can blame Reagan only for missing the target. The Gaddafi clan terrorizes, blackmails and intimidates just like the Barbary pirates did 200 years ago.
Targeted assassinations are a political necessity:
* More blackmail & intimidation from the Gaddafi-clan in Libya: