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Pleasure boaters kidnapped

Four tourists sailing off Somalia’s northern region of Puntland were captured by pirates Monday, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The tourists — two men, a woman, and a child — are believed to be European, possibly French or German, according to the report. They were seized while taking photographs near the coastal town of Lasquorey, Puntland, taken ashore and then hidden in the mountains. The yacht was reportedly left on the beach. Officials say they have deployed forces to the area to trace the captives.

Ironically, this event has occurred shortly after the United Nations Security Council voted June 2 to authorize states to enter Somalia’s waters to fight piracy, letting them use “all necessary means” to suppress the problem. There have been 31 instances of hijacking or attempted hijacking last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, including a tense incident where a French luxury yacht and 30 crewmembers were held hostage for a week in early April.

The authorization by the United Nations to fight piracy will stand for up to six months. Meanwhile, officials are combing the Somali mountains to find the most recent hostages.

— Elizabeth Ellis