LAS PALMAS, Spain—Somali pirates demanded on Wednesday $4 million in ransom plus the release of the two hijackers captured by the Spanish Navy on Oct. 4.
These are the conditions set by the pirates for negotiating the release of the Spanish tuna trawler, the Alakrana, and its 36 crew members. The vessel was abducted on Oct. 3 and remains off the Somalia coast. The following day, two pirates were picked up as they tried to sail away from the captured tuna trawler.
“We demand the payment of $4 million for illegal fishing in Somalis waters,” one of the pirates, Abdi Yare, told AFP by telephone.
"We insist on the fact that they must first be freed in order for an agreement to be found without problems," he said.
National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon remanded in custody the two Somalis—Cabdiwell Cabdullahl, known as Abdu Willy, and Raageggesey Hassan Haj—on provisional charges of kidnapping, robbery, and possession of arms. The pirates could be sentenced to up to 200 years in prison.
Justice Garzon said that the two were part of a group called Burcad Badeed, meaning “those that rob on the sea.” The judge further reports that the group has been operating for 20 years and the suspects were paid $2,500 each for taking part in hijacking the Alakrana.
The suspects denied they were part of the group, arguing that they were forced into service.
According to experts consulted by El Mundo, the Alakrana case seems to be at a dead end in negotiations.
“There is just one way the pirates will give up on their comrades. It will be that they get more money than expected,” reported El Mundo.