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Somali Pirates Kill Four Americans

The dangerous waters of the Arabian Sea have claimed four more victims. On Tuesday, Feb. 22, Somali pirates murdered four Americans who they had been holding hostage aboard the United States-flagged yacht Quest. The pirates had seized the Quest the previous week.

According to United States Central command, negotiations to secure the release of Jean and Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were underway when a Somali pirate fired a rocket propelled grenade at a US Navy destroyer, the USS Sterret, which was following the 58-foot long Quest. Gunfire was then heard onboard the yacht. U.S. Navy Special Forces quickly stormed the Quest, killed two of the pirates and captured thirteen more. However, by the time the soldiers boarded the yacht, the four Americans were already dead, as were two additional pirates.

According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, U.S. President Barack Obama had authorized the Navy to use lethal force if the lives of the four hostages were under imminent threat.

A Somali pirate who called himself Mohamud contacted Reuters shortly after the Americans were executed and claimed that the American Navy opened fire on the yacht and killed two of the pirates. Mohamud said that the four hostages were executed in retaliation.

U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Mark Fox, head of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, disputes that claim. He told reporters that the pirates fired on the Sterret without provocation, and that the Navy Special Forces soldiers did not fire any shots until after they had boarded the Quest.

Compounding the tragic murders is the fact that Jean and Scott Adam, the owners of the Quest, were Christian missionaries. According to a Wall Street Journal dated Wedesday, Feb. 23, 2011, the Adams had sold their house in 2002 in order to finance the construction of the Quest. The couple spent six months each year sailing around the world. They carried Bibles with them on their voyages, which they would distribute at the ports where they stopped.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the executions a “deplorable act,” and she said that she was “deeply saddened and very upset by the murder of four American citizens.” She stressed that the tragedy underscores the need for the international community to take stronger, more definite action against the pirates.

“We’ve got to have a more effective approach to maintaining security on the seas, in the ocean lanes, that are so essential to commerce and travel,” Clinton said in an interview.

Sources:

Reuters.com, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/22/us-somalia-pirates-usa-idUSTRE71L3JP20110222?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, February 23, 2011, “Somali Pirates Kill Four Americans.” By Keith Johnson. Page A6

CNN.com, http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/22/somalia.us.yacht/index.html

 

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