SOMALIA: Puntland Minister Captured by Somali Pirates

Published: October 11, 2010

 On Monday, the minister of ports of Puntland State of Somalia, Said Mohamed Rage and his armed guards were captured by pirates after heavy gunfight near the coastal town of Gara’ad.
Mr.Rage was on an official visit to the coastal town of Gara’ad, about 360km South-east of Garowe, the capital of Puntland.
The town is a stronghold of the Somali pirates operating in the gulf of Aden and the Indian ocean.
Previously, the minister declared an open war against the pirates in the region.
Heavily armed pirates blockaded the main road to the town, refusing the minister and his convoy to enter the city. According to local residents there was intense gun battle that ensued the blockade by the pirates.
The minister and his convoy were accompanied by at least 7 battle wagons and dozens of armed guards. The minister and his forces were forced to retreat, eyewitnesses say.
The minister was again ambushed in the town of Jariban  60km west of Gara’ad. At least 4 local people were wounded in the fighting, two of the Minister’s bodyguards were also killed in the clashes.
Later, the minister and his guards surrendered to the pirates after they were encircled in the village of Sallah in Mudug region.
The Puntland government has confirmed the clashes, however no one was able to elaborate on the whereabouts of the captured minister and his guards.
Ali Yusuf Hosh, the deputy minister of interior blamed pirates from Puntland and southern Somalia for ambushing the minister and his delegation.
Horseed Media

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