Pirates hijacked a Somali fishing vessel with ten Yemeni crew aboard off the coast of Somalia’s northern Puntland region on Friday, officials said on Saturday.
Abdi Adde, a coastguard for the semi-autonomous Puntland said at least 10 gunmen belonging to a Somali pirate gang hijacked the boat on Friday in the Barri coastal district.
“Ten heavily armed men … have hijacked a boat belonging to Somali fishermen. The incident took place earlier on Friday. We don’t know yet why Somali pirates took over a Somali vessel,” Abdi said.
The 10 Yemeni crew members were taken to Eyl, a town once known as a pirate stronghold in Somalia’s Nugal region.
Abdirahman Hassan, Puntland’s anti-piracy director, said that the pirates may have taken the vessel to use in hijacking a larger target ship in the Indian Ocean.
Earlier this month, Somali pirates hijacked the U.A.E.-flagged Aris 13 oil tanker in the Indian Ocean as it was transporting oil from Djibouti to Mogadishu.
The pirates released the oil tanker, without receiving any ransom, on March 13.