Hijacked Bangladesh-flagged ship released after $5 million ransom paid, say Somali pirates

From Reuters

CNN  — 

Somali pirates released a hijacked ship, MV Abdullah, and its crew of 23 early on Sunday after a $5 million ransom was paid, according to two pirates.

“The money was brought to us two nights ago as usual… we checked whether the money was fake or not. Then we divided the money into groups and left, avoiding the government forces,” Abdirashiid Yusuf, one of the pirates, told Reuters.

He added the ship had been released with all its crew.

Somalia government officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The MV Abdullah, a Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier – a type of merchant ship used to transport large amounts of cargo – was hijacked in March as it was heading from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates.

The hijacking happened about 600 nautical miles east of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Somali pirates caused chaos in the waters off the country’s long coastline from about 2008 to 2018. They had been dormant until late last year when pirate activity started to pick up again.

Maritime sources say pirates may be encouraged by a relaxation of security or may be taking advantage of the chaos caused by attacks on shipping by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group while war rages in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

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