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Absalon spots a large pirate camp near Hobyo

(BRUSSELS2) Before heading back towards the Red Sea and Denmark, the Danish frigate Absalon (NATO force) carried out a reconnaissance mission along the Somali coast at the beginning of March. This mission is worth detailing. Because it is symptomatic of the desire of multinational anti-piracy forces to no longer remain in a reactionary position in the face of an attack but to go ahead of the pirates, to disrupt their rear bases. A desire is also evident for the European force EUNAVFOR Atalanta, which will see its mandate expanded (1).

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The pirate camp photographed by helicopter (Photo credit: Danish Ministry of Defence)

« We were able to spot one of the largest pirate camps on the East Coast (near Hobyo),” explained Absalon commander Dan Termansen. “ There were about 125 armed men ". In the photos taken by the helicopter, we notice, in fact, numerous skifs, larger boats (mother boats), gasoline cans, outboard motors as well as several 4×4 vehicles which ensure the liaison with surrounding villages, supply and transport of men. It is not a port in itself. But more of a rest area. The arrival of the warship has somewhat disrupted life on the beach. The pirates dismantled the camp and moved elsewhere.

During the operation, the Danes got their hands on three mother ships. To avoid any attempt at assistance from their colleagues remaining on the beach, the boats were brought 12 miles from the coast and then destroyed with cannon. The suspects were released. “ They hadn't done anything illegal at that time." explained Dan Termasen. " The suspects' fingerprints were, however, taken. And all their equipment (GSM, etc.) seized”.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Read: Atalanta will receive the mandate to monitor the Somali coast

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).