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Brits arrested in Somalia with ‘£2.2 million ransom for pirates’

Three Britons, One American, two Kenyans, have been arrested trying to smuggle a cash ransom of more than £2 million into Somalia to secure the release of two hijacked ships from pirates

The Telegraph  May 27, 2011

The Britons, who are among a group of six foreigners also understood to include two Kenyans and an American – were allegedly caught with $3.6 million in cash at the airport in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Security sources told The Daily Telegraph that a private security firm, Salama Fikira, with a presence in neighbouring Kenya and Mauritius and ties to retired British military personnel, was involved in the operation. The British men were named by security sources as Andrew Oaks and Alex James from Salama Fikira and Mathew Brown from an aviation company.

The firm offers maritime crisis response resolution as one of its services. A spokesman for Salama Fikira declined to comment.

Somali police intercepted the six foreign nationals on Tuesday after they landed in Mogadishu in two unmarked planes.

A source told The Telegraph that the ransom was to be used to secure the release of two vessels, the Egyptian-owned MV Suez and the Chinese-owned MV Yuan Xiang.

Nick Davies, a maritime security expert with experience with Somali piracy cases, said those taken would most likely be private security agents but the route they had chosen was not one commonly used in the industry.

“It will be a risk consultancy-type operation and typically the guys doing it would be very experienced, military guys that have a clear understanding of the tasks they are going to be undertaking,” he said. “The arrests were probably down to an information leak that caught them out, not the way they were doing it or where they were going because it’s a regular thing.”

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May 26, 2011 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, Pirates, Private Security Contractor, Somalia | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment