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Somali pirate killed in skirmish with ship guards

Eyl: A suspected pirate has been shot dead as private guards repelled an attack on a cargo ship off Somalia, in what may have been the first such incident writes the BBC. The EU naval force (Navfor) says the suspect was found dead by a team from an EU warship which was responding to a distress call from the cargo ship.

Guards from an "armed private vessel protection detachment" aboard the Panamanian-flagged MV Almezaan had returned fire after the ship was attacked. A second attack was also repelled and the pirates fled the area.Six other suspected pirates were detained by a Spanish Navfor ship.

Navfor spokesman Cmdr John Harbour told the BBC News website that he believed there was strong evidence to prosecute the six suspects detained. The ESPS Navarra found two skiffs and one pirate mother ship that was destroyed after the suspects were taken into custody, he said.

"All the evidence suggests that there was a fire-fight," he continues. Bullet-holes were found in the skiffs in which they were found, he added. The owners of the cargo ship, which was en route to Mogadishu, were contacted and asked to comply with any subsequent prosecution, Cmdr Harbour said.  [24/03/10]

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