Representational Image (Source: PTI)
An Indian-registered boat hijacked by Somali pirates nearly a week ago was recovered by security forces, but nine of the Indian crew are still being held hostage, a Somali official said on Monday.
Security forces from the semi-autonomous Galmudug region rescued two crew members in the boat on Sunday night, but pirates escaped to land and have nine of the Indian crew, Abdullahi Ahmed Ali, the mayor of Hobyo, told The Associated Press.
Ali said security forces were pursuing the pirates who are believed to have taken the hostages into a forest.
Bile Hussein, a Somali pirate, confirmed that the boat was rescued, saying that the pirates received a tip off of an imminent rescue attempt and abandoned the boat, taking the crew with them to the land.
In recent weeks there has been a resurgence of piracy off Somalia's coast after five years of inactivity.
Somalia's piracy was once a serious threat to the global shipping industry. It has lessened in recent years after an international effort to patrol near Somalia, whose weak central government has been trying to stabilize the countryafter 25 years of conflict.
But frustrations have been rising among Somali fishermen, including former pirates, at what they say are foreign ships illegally fishing in local waters.
In March, Somali pirates hijacked the Comoros-flagged oil tanker Aris 13, marking the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel since 2012. They later released the vessel and its Sri Lankan crew without conditions, Somali officials said at the time.
Pirates in late March also seized a fishing trawler, which police warned could be used for further piracy.