European Military Launches Air Raid On Suspected Somali Pirates

Somali pirates
Foreign thrawlers have plundered Somali waters

European Union military forces carried out an air raid on what they called “pirate equipment” on the coast of Somalia on Tuesday.

It is the first time the European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor), deployed off the country’s coastline to fight “piracy,” has carried out a raid on Somali soil. Until now it has acted against pirates at sea, mostly on small skiffs.

Reports are that helicopters flying from warships destroyed a number of suspected pirate attack crafts.

EU Navfor said in a statement that surveillance “indicates that no Somalis were injured ashore as a result of EU action.”

The force quoted its commander, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, as saying there were no “boots” on the ground, adding: “The local Somali people and fishermen – many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future.”

EU Navfor said the raid was mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851, as well as by a March decision of the European Union Council authorizing action on shore. It said the force currently comprised nine warships and five maritime patrol aircraft.

The multinational forces used helicopters in conjunction with two warships to leave five of the accused pirates’ fast attack craft “inoperable”.