A U.S. military vessel and three Somali police speedboats headed Monday toward a U.N.-chartered cargo ship that was hijacked by pirates after delivering food aid to northeastern Somalia, a senior police official said.
Police boats were within sight of the MV Rozen “but we asked them to stop going further because our biggest concern is the safety of the crew of 12 on board,” said Col. Abdi Ali Hagaafe, police chief of Somalia’s Bari region.
He said the Somali government had asked the U.S. Navy for help, and “they told us they have started to move toward the ship.”
Lt. Denise Garcia, of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command based in Bahrain, confirmed that U.S. forces were in the area and monitoring the situation.
Somali pirates boarded the cargo ship Sunday and took the crew hostage, officials said. It was the third time since 2005 that a U.N.-chartered vessel was hijacked off Somalia’s coast.
Prison raid kills four jailed officers
Gunmen stormed a Guatemalan prison and shot to death four jailed police officers in a mafia hit aimed at stopping investigators from finding out who ordered the slayings of three politicians from neighboring El Salvador, Guatemala’s leader said Monday.
The four policemen killed Sunday included Luis Arturo Herrera, head of the Guatemalan National Police organized crime unit, and three of his officers. They were arrested Thursday in connection with the Feb. 19 killings of three Salvadoran representatives to the Central American Parliament, based in Guatemala City.
President Oscar Berger said “organized crime gangs” reached the officers’ cell after getting past eight locked doors at the prison and were responsible for the “violent deaths of four important witnesses who could have helped the investigation.”
Twenty-two prison guards were detained for questioning, and there were reports that the killers may have worn guard uniforms or that guards may have cleared visitors from the prison prior to the attack.
Japan completes global spy web
After nearly a decade of trying, Japan has succeeded in establishing a network of spy satellites that can peer at any point on the globe, officials said Monday.
The successful launch Saturday of the last of a fleet of four reconnaissance satellites significantly boosts Japan’s ability to gather independent intelligence and re-establishes Tokyo as a major player in Asia’s accelerating space race.
Previously, Japan had to rely more heavily on its main ally, the United States, for spy satellite data.
Japan started its spy satellite program in 1998 after North Korea launched a missile over the country’s main island.