Most Wanted ‘Carlos The Jackal’ Somali Pirate Seized

The war on piracy in the Horn of Africa has received a major boost following the capture of one of the world’s most wanted Somali pirate leaders, Mohamed Garad.

Garad, a former British soldier, is said to have been arrested together with 12 other suspected pirates on April 4 by Iranian commandos after they hijacked a Chinese cargo ship.

The co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Association, Mr Andrew Mwangura, said Garad was captured after the seizure of the Chinese vessel, Xianghuamen, last week.

Xianghuamen is a Panama-flagged general cargo vessel owned by Nanjing Ocean Shipping Company of China.

“Garad had been on the run for many decades. He was elusive and sly and had slipped out of all the security dragnets before. His capture is the greatest good news in the war against piracy and terrorism,” Mr Mwangura said yesterday.

‘Old hand’

The coordinator described Garad as “an old, experienced hand and a role model in the piracy world”, who has been linked to hundreds of ship hijack cases in the Horn of Africa.

“To experts and those who knew Garad, he was like Carlos the Jackal in the crime world and Dedan Kimathi to the British colonialists, mysterious and never easy to capture,” Mr Mwangura said.

The arrest of the pirate leader, Mr Mwangura said, was confirmed by one of his cousins in Mogadishu.

“He (the cousin) told me that Garad was one of the pirates captured,” the seafarers association coordinator said.

According to Xinhua TV, Xianghuamen was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Sea of Oman near Iran’s southern port of Chabahar.

“The ship was freed after Iran’s navy had rescued all of the ship’s 28 crew members. One was, however, injured, reportedly from a rebounding shell fired by the pirates,” said Xinhua.

It added: “A nearly 10-hour hijacking ordeal ended on Friday afternoon when all 28 Chinese crew members aboard a Chinese freighter taken by Somali pirates were rescued.”

China’s ambassador to Iran, Mr Yu Hongyang, said: “Thanks to joint efforts by China and Iran, the freighter, Xianghuamen, was rescued at about 1830 local time and all 28 Chinese crew members aboard are safe and sound.

“The hijacking was a surprise and occurred far from China, which made our rescue efforts difficult.”

Two Iranian naval warships took part in the rescue operation. The navy trailed the vessel, ordering the pirates to surrender.

Ultimately, the captors gave in. They threw their weapons into the sea and surrendered.

Culled Africa Review

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