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Victims Identify Somalia Pirates


A Kenyan maritime official says victims of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have identified some of the suspected pirates who were recently arrested by the U.S. Navy.

The program coordinator for the Seafarers' Assistance Program, Andrew Mwangura, tells VOA 10 suspected pirates who were arrested earlier this month will likely appear in court this week.

Mwangura says shortly after the arrest of the suspected pirates, a group of seafarers living in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa were able to identify some of the suspects.

"When they were arrested, there was this group, which is in Mombasa," said Andrew Mwangura. "I took the photographs [of the suspects], which were e-mailed to me and I showed them, and they were able to identify the small boss and also to identify some of the gunmen with their names."

Mwangura says the seafarers were working on a ship called M.V. Semlow, leased by the World Food Program when pirates attacked them last year.

According to Mwangura, the suspects are believed to be members of a group called the Somali Marines, a group of about 35 gunmen under the leadership of a Somali factional leader.

The Navy earlier this month apprehended the suspects - who were in a boat off the coast of Somalia - and flew them Sunday into Mombasa, where they were met by Kenyan detectives.

They stand accused of hijacking an Indian fishing vessel.

There have been more than 30 piracy incidents off Somalia's coast since early last year.

The Somali government argues that it lacks the resources and organization to crack down on piracy and has called for the international community to do so.