Spanish navy hands suspected Somali pirates to Kenya
The Spanish navy on Wednesday handed over four suspected Somali pirates to Kenyan authorites along with nine Kenyan fishermen they had taken hostage, police said.
The Spanish naval vessel Galicia captured the pirates when it rescued the fishermen whose boat had been hijacked on September 20 off the Kenyan coast, regional police chief Leonard Nyongesa told reporters.
"The suspects had entered into Kenyan waters... and ordered the captain to (sail) the vessel towards Somalia. It was after some time that the fishermen raised a distress alarm when they spotted a warship on patrol," Nyongesa said.
"The Spanish warship acted swiftly to the distress call and managed to catch up with the vessel and arrested the four suspected pirates and rescued the nine Kenyans on board."
Nyongesa said the Somalis will be charged Thursday with piracy and tried under an agreement with the European Union.
"Kenyan government will continue cooperating with European Union in our efforts of making the sea free from attacks," he said.
Kenya and the Seychelles are the only coastal states to have agreed to take in piracy suspects captured off Somalia by international navies.
Last week, a Kenyan court sentenced seven Somalis to five years in prison for acts of piracy, the third batch to be jailed since foreign anti-piracy patrols began two years ago.
© 2010 AFP