High Profile Pirate Leader Garaad Captured In The Operation
XIANG HUA MEN, Panamana-Flagged Cargo Vessel Hijacked on April 06, 2012
Just hours after Panama-flagged cargo ship XIANG HUA MEN was hijacked by pirates 14 nautical miles off the Iranian coast, Iranian commandos stormed the vessel, rescuing the 28 Chinese crewmembers and capturing the nine pirates on board.
Two Iranian naval vessels approached the ship, following which the pirates threw their weapons overboard. Xinhua news agency reported that the Chinese embassy in Iran had requested that Iran intervene militarily to free the vessel.
“The Chinese embassy… immediately established contact with relevant Iranian authorities demanding (that) Iran adopt all necessary measures to fully rescue the ship and crew,” Xinhua reported.
Somalia Report can confirm that Garaad, a well-known pirate based out of Puntland was one of the nine pirates arrested. Somalia Report spoke with Garaad’s cousin this morning, who stated that Garaad was one of the nine pirates arrested. Garaad was responsible for the Blida hijack, which was subsequently released for $3.5 million. His gang has come under pressure from Puntland security forces recently: in February, a number of his colleagues were arrested, and the authorities burned two of their speedboats.