Pirates seize French yacht off Somalia

Sun, 2008-04-06 12:41 by admin
French cruise ship Le Ponant (AP Photo/CMA-CGM/ho) Handout picture released by French defense ministry shows back of luxury yacht 'Le Ponant,' after pirates boarded the vessel off the coast of Somalia, 04 April 2008

JAMEY KEATEN | April 4, 2008 06:36 PM EST

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PARIS — Pirates seized control of a French luxury yacht carrying 30 crew members Friday off the coast of Somalia, the French government and the ship's owner said.

Attackers stormed the 288-foot Le Ponant as it returned without passengers from the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, toward the Mediterranean Sea, said officials with French maritime transport company CMA-CGM.

"The Defense and Foreign ministries are mobilized to act as quickly as possible, I hope in the coming minutes or hours to try to win the freedom of these hostages," Prime Minister Francois Fillon told reporters while on a visit to Brussels, Belgium.

He did not elaborate. France has considerable military resources in the region, including a base in Djibouti and a naval flotilla sailing in the Indian Ocean.

A military spokesman said later that a French warship, the frigate Le Commandant Bouan, had been ordered to track the yacht. A helicopter from the Canadian warship Charlottetown also was dispatched, Cmdr. Christophe Prazuck said. …

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French Military Police Mobilized After Somalia Hijacking

Fri, 2008-04-11 17:57 by admin

By Derek Kilner
07 April 2008

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France has mobilized members of an elite military police force in response to the hijacking of a French yacht last week by Somali pirates. As Derek Kilner reports from Nairobi, the troops have been sent to Djibouti as negotiations with the hijackers proceed.

Members of France's GIGN, a military police counter-terrorism unit, have been sent to Djibouti, which neighbors Somalia to the North and hosts nearly 3,000 French soldiers. …

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