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Norway kills two and injures four fishermen in blotched search at Somali coast

A Norwegian warship inspecting fishing boats in the middle of the night at the coast of Somalia for suspected pirate activity was caught in heavy gunfire in the early hours of Sunday, a European Union naval commander finally admitted Sunday night. 

Responding to many official requests the EU NAVFOR command, NATO and UKMTO Bahrain had pretended to not know anything during the whole course of the day.

Local Puntland region officials had reported already early on Sunday morning that a Yemeni and a Somali fisherman had been killed and four others were wounded when "French forces opened fire" at the north-eastern coast of Somalia.

The incident happened shortly after midnight Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday) when two military semi-rigged speedboats from a warship approached the small natural harbour of Olad, 20 km east of Alula at the Gulf of Aden.

There seven fishing boats were moored and clearly identifiable in in the bright moonlight.

After the Norwegians disarmed two Somalis guarding these small fishing boats against thieves and pirates, the soldiers destroyed the boats, which woke other people up. The moment the attack vessels then turned to a larger Yemeni dhow a gunfight ensued, which left one Yemeni and one Somali fisherman dead as well as three Yemenis and one Somali injured, eyewitnesses confirmed. Thereafter the commando boats disappeared into the night and back to the naval vessel, whose shadow could be seen off the coast.

The governor of Puntland’s Bari province, Muse Gele Farole, first said French forces were involved. “The French forces opened fire on fishermen on-board a fishing boat,” the governor told AFP.

The chiefs of staff of the French armed forces denied any French involvement, while a spokesman for the EU’s anti-piracy force Atalanta told AFP none of its ships were involved. “No forces from the EU naval force were involved in any incident like this”.
He said nothing had been reported “either from the French side or from the other nations involved in EU-NAVFOR”.

But also Said Muse, the deputy commander of security forces in Alula, said by phone that the fishing vessels were attacked by two military speed boats. “The wounded told us they were French forces who carried out the attack, but we are not sure yet about the nationality of the attackers,” he said.

“We have collected the wounded and the dead bodies this morning from the area and we are burying the body of the dead Somali now.

The Yemenis took the dead sailor to their country hours ago,” said Muse, speaking by phone from the town some 20km away from where the the incident took place.

The district commissioner of Alula Xareed Isse Omar confirmed the eye-witness records and stated to the BBC that all these fishing boats have licences and their owners are known. He explained that the fishermen always stay at the small harbour to protect themselves from pirates and that the Yemeni dhow belongs to a regular customer, who buys fish at the Somali coast.

No Information

Neither the Somali government nor their Anti-Piracy envoy, who serves as focal point for the navies, had been informed by any navy about the incident and his intensive search to reveal the truth was frustrated by all the official naval contacts from where he requested clarification. "Norway has no permission to operate at the Somali coast," envoy Ismail Haji Noor stated, "and has not informed the Somali government, which is a prerequisite stipulated in the UN Security Council Resolutions 1846 and 1851".

Both resolutions meanwhile are disputed by experts in international law, because they are based on the consent of the Somali government, which apparently never was legally correct provided. 
© Ecoterra -

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