The 11-member crew of a Kenyan vessel have been taken hostage after their vessel has stranded in the Middle Shabelle province (midway between Uarseiek and El maan, about 120 km of Mogadishu). The cargo ship was loaded with timber from Mozambique and it was en route to Mombasa.
On July 10 the vessel suffered technical difficulties at Meyraley, a small seaside village, and it was looted by local residents during repair works. According to eyewitnesses, the locals took equipment. After the robbery the vessel was boarded by heavily armed Al-Shabaab fighters. The unidentified militants arrived in vehicles and demanded the crew to surrender. The seafarers were taken hostage and driven off. The locals were ordered to bring back all stolen equipment.
The crew has been taken to a unknown location in the Middle Shabelle province and is being under Al-Shabaab custody. Six of the 11 men are from Kenya, including the captain of the vessel, four are from Tanzania and one is from Somalia. Al-Shabaab has not yet given any comment.