Dutch hold Somali pirates for attempted murder

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Sixteen alleged Somali pirates are under investigation for attempted murder for shooting at Dutch marines from a hijacked Iranian fishing boat, the Dutch prosecution service said Wednesday.

"They are suspected of acts of piracy and attempting to murder Dutch marines who wanted to carry out an inspection of the vessel" off the Somali coast on Saturday, prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP.

"It appears that the pirates did not act on impulse but shot at the marines with the intention of killing them," he added.

The 16 were detained after an exchange of gunfire with Dutch marines which left two suspected pirates dead.

After overpowering the alleged pirates, the Dutch soldiers found 16 Iranian fishermen who had been held hostage on the boat for four months.

The Somalians are being held on board the Dutch navy frigate Tromp, taking part in a NATO-led anti-piracy operation. They were officially placed in detention by a Dutch judge on Wednesday pending the conclusion of the probe. This means they could be tried in a Dutch court.

De Bruin said automatic firearms and rocket launchers were found on board the Iranian boat.

© 2011 AFP

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