EU airstrike destroys pirate equipment

2012-05-15 19:46

Mogadishu - The European Union Naval Force patrolling Somalia's pirate-infested waters said on Tuesday it conducted its first onshore air raid on pirate targets, and a pirate said the attack set back their operations by destroying a supply centre.

No deaths were reported in Tuesday morning's attack on Handulle village, about 18km north of Haradheere town, a key pirate lair.

The EU Naval Force announced in March that it would expand its mission to include Somalia's coast and waterways inside the country for the first time.

Bile Hussein, a pirate commander, said the attack along Somalia's central coastline destroyed speed boats, fuel depots and an arms store.

"They destroyed our equipment to ashes. It was a key supplies centre for us," Hussein said. "The fuel contributed to the flames and destruction. Nothing was spared."

He said nine speed boats were destroyed, and that three of them were on standby for hijackings.

Attack helicopters took part in the attacks early in the morning on the mainland, an EU spokesperson said.

The EU is the main donor to the Somali transitional government. It also trains Somali army troops, and is reinforcing the navies of five neighbouring countries to enable them to counter piracy themselves. The long coastline of war-ravaged Somalia provides a perfect haven for pirate gangs preying on shipping off the East African coast.

"This action against piracy is part of a comprehensive EU approach to the crisis in Somalia, where we support a lasting political solution on land," said Michael Mann, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, said the attack will increase the pressure and disrupt pirates' efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows.

He said attacks against pirate supplies on the shoreline are an extension of disruptive actions carried out against pirate ships at sea.

Since December 2008, the EU has kept five to 10 warships off the Horn of Africa in an operation known as Atalanta. Nato has a similar anti-piracy flotilla known as Ocean Shield, and other countries - including the United States, India, China, Russia, and Malaysia - also have dispatched naval vessels to patrol the region.

The EU Naval Force is responsible for the protection of World Food Programme ships carrying humanitarian aid for Somalia, and the logistic support vessels of the African Union troops conducting operations there. It also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia, which has been without a functioning government since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown.

The EU's more robust mandate for its naval force allows it for the first time to mount strikes against pirate targets on Somalia's "coastal territory and internal waters."

When the policy was announced, officials said the new tactics could include using warships or their helicopters to target pirate boats moored along the shoreline, as well as land vehicles or fuel tanks used by the pirates.

The EU did not say which member nation's forces carried out Tuesday's raid.

But two months ago, the Atalanta force was joined by French amphibious assault ship Dixmude. The 21 000-ton ship, the largest to serve with the EU mission, is capable of acting as a mobile operating base for 16 helicopters - including Tigre gunships - significantly adding to the reach of the naval force.

"Today's action is... in line with the new mandate," Mann said. "The EU will continue to remain active in this field."

- AP
Read more on:    eu  |  somalia  |  east africa  |  somali pirates
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Table View 16:34 PM
Road name: Marine Drive Northbound

DELAYS between Sunset Beach and Blaauwberg Road

Cape Town 16:32 PM
Road name: De Waal Drive Outbound

DELAYS approaching Hospital Bend

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 30% off top fragrances

Get mind blowing savings on selected fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today you may want to bond with your children and need to connect to your imaginative and playful side. It may be that you are...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.