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Hijacked ship’s crew rescued from pirates near Somalia

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Nineteen crew members have been freed from a ship captured by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Maritime officials received an alert on Saturday that pirates had boarded the timber-carrying ship about 75 miles (120km) from the coast of Yemen.

Ships from three countries diverted to its path. A Chinese team boarded the vessel early on Sunday.

The first hijacking by Somali pirates in five years occurred last month, but this is the second raid since then.

A spokesman for UK Marine Trade Operations (UKMTO) in Dubai, who co-ordinate safe passage for merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden, said all on board the hijacked ship were safe and heading to an unnamed destination under escort.

The UKMTO said the crew was from Syria, but a statement by India’s ministry of defence said they were from the Philippines.

Reports in India said the hijacked ship was travelling between the ports of Kenang in Malaysia and Aden in Yemen.

The UKMTO said navy ships from India, China and Pakistan (the last operating as part of an international combined task force) changed course to approach the Tuvalu-flagged ship soon after the alert was raised.

The crew had locked themselves in the citadel, a safe room inside the ship designed to protect those on board from pirates.

The crew from the Chinese ship boarded the hijacked ship at dawn today, freeing those on board. India’s military said it is believed the hijackers fled the ship during the night.

Piracy in the waters off Somalia and Yemen peaked in 2011, with more than 200 attacks.

But after five years with no raids, an oil tanker was seized and held for ransom by Somali pirates in early March and there have been a number of attempted seizures since then.

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Ghana: video of police assault on nursing mother goes viral

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Ghana’s social media space – Facebook and Twitter – has been buzzing with a call for the arrest of a police officer for assaulting a nursing mother.

A viral video shows the said officer in what starts like a tussle with the woman in a banking hall. Subsequently, he is seen hitting the woman with an umbrella, punching and slapping her on the face.

Reports indicated that the woman, a client of the savings and loans company, where the incident occured had arrived when the company had closed.

She ostensibly got in despite the close of business and refused to leave till she could withdraw a sum of 250 cedis ($50). Social media users are calling for the immediate arrest of the police officer. 

Local media portals also report that the police heirachy has confirmed that a probe had been opened into the alleged incident and that due process was going to be pursued.

The video continues to be widely shared on Facebook with some prominent media personalities joining the calls for justice for the woman.

 

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Trump extends Somali immigrants’ stay in US

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Somalis living in the United States under protected status have been given permission by the Trump administration to remain in the country for at least another 18 months, because of ongoing violence in the North African nation.

At least 500 Somalis in the United States with Temporary Protected Status will be able to re-register for an extension of their status through March 17, 2020, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Homeland Security. The status grants beneficiaries the ability to legally work while they are in the United States.

 

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