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Somali pirates seize boat with crew of 16

Somali pirates hijacked a tugboat Saturday with a crew of 16 in the Gulf of Aden, reported the BBC.

The pirates seized the Italian tugboat with 10 Italians on board while focus still remains on the American catpain Richard Phillips who is being held by pirates on a lifeboat flanked by naval warships, reported the New York Times.

The BBC reported that the pirates holding Philips have warned that using force to resuce the captain would result in 'disaster'.

"This incident shows the pirates are becoming more daring and violent,"Andrew Mwangura, of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told Reuters in a telephone interview, reported the New York Times.

The American captain is being held hundres of miles of the Somali coast by four pirates as U.S. and other naval ships make their way to the area.

In other developments, a frenchman and two pirates were killed Friday in a French rescue operation for another vessel captured off the Somalia coast. The BBC reports that four others, including a child, were freed from the yacht.

Reports from the US say the pirates are demanding a $2 million ransom for his safe release.

BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7994980.stm
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/world/africa/12somalia.html?hp