Garowe(Mogadishu24)-Pirates hijacked a Yemeni boat on Friday with 16 Iranian workers and a Somali guard in the coastal district of Eyl in the Nugal region, Puntland State of Somalia.

Bashir Said Osman, one of the boat’s managers, reported that they have contacted the armed group responsible for the kidnapping, who demanded $400,000 in ransom to release the boat and its staff.

Mr. Bashir added that the boat is legally registered by the Puntland administration and holds a license to engage in fishing business off the coast of Puntland.

He further stated that the pirates threatened to use the boat for seizing other ships if the demanded ransom is not settled.

Puntland Police Commander, Major General Muumin Abdi Shire, announced that security agencies are actively working to secure the release of the hijacked boat. He mentioned that the group that hijacked it has moved to the far east of the sea.

The commander clarified that they have instructed the boat’s agents not to pay the ransom, stating that the police are pursuing the kidnappers and they will face legal consequences.

Eyl district has been historically known as one of the first places where pirates started hijacking fishing boats and ships. However, in 2012, concerted efforts the government managed to curb piracy activities in the region.

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