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Somalis Held In Lakshadweep, Navy On Alert

With pirates now operating much beyond the Gulf of Aden, alarms bells began clanging in the Indian security establishment after half-a-dozen Somali nationals were apprehended with their boats in Lakshadweep Islands over the last two
PTI May 29, 2010 9:35 IST
PTI
With pirates now operating much beyond the Gulf of Aden, alarms bells began clanging in the Indian security establishment after half-a-dozen Somali nationals were apprehended with their boats in Lakshadweep Islands over the last two days. But it may just turn out to be a case of fishing vessels drifting on the high seas.  

"The Somali nationals, found in a dehydrated and unconscious condition, are being taken to Kochi on warship INS Sujata for interrogation. Initial investigation has not found anything suspicious," said a Navy officer on Friday.  

"There were no weapons or ladders on their boats, which seem to be genuine fishing vessels out at sea for the last 30-35 days," he added.  

The chain of events began on Wednesday evening after some alert fishermen spotted a suspicious boat around 5 km off Minicoy Island, which led to intensive combing operations by the Navy, Coast Guard and Lakshadweep police.  

The hunt led to the discovery of three Somalian nationals, who had managed to swim ashore after jumping ship, even as one of their colleagues drowned. "Some more of them were found in a boat around 100 km south of Kavaratti island on Friday morning... It does not look like they are pirates," said the officer.