Swedish navy hands suspected pirates to Kenya

AFP/The Local
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Swedish navy hands suspected pirates to Kenya

Swedish naval forces handed seven suspected Somali pirates over to Kenyan authorities on Monday, according to police.


The seven pirates were arrested by the Swedes as they tried to hijack a Greek merchant vessel in the lawless waters off Somalia on May 26th.

"The suspects tried to attack MV Antonis, which was sailing from Europe to Asia before the Swedish navy patrolling along the Gulf of Aden arrested them," Ayub Ali Gitonga, chief of police in the Kenyan port of Mombasa told reporters.

They were flown on a chartered flight from Djibouti to Mombasa, but their trial will take place in Malindi, a coastal town, 130 kilometres of Mombasa.

Gitonga said the trial venue was moved due to congestion at the Mombasa prison where other pirate suspects are being held.

The Swedish warship HMS Malmö responded to a distress call from the MV Antonis, which said it was under attack from pirates using rocket-propelled grenades.

The Swedish vessel is taking part in an international anti-piracy drive in the lawless waters off Somalia.

Sweden has had three corvettes and 152 personnel patrolling the Gulf of Aden since May 15 as part of a European Union force, which is running an anti-piracy naval mission off Somalia.

Piracy watchdogs say there have been 114 attempted hijackings this year, compared with 111 during the whole of 2008.


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