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On Saturday afternoon (May 19th), Somali pirates released two drivers and two cars rented by the non-governmental organizations Save the Children and Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA) after seizing them in an ambush near Isku-shuban, in the Bari region of Puntland, last Monday, pirates and local officials confirmed to Somalia Report.
“Yes, it’s true pirates released the hijacked cars from Save the Children. The two cars with their drivers arrived in Isku-shuban Saturday afternoon. Elders from the region played a role in the negotiations,” Mohamed Ahmed Samatar (Liligo), a police officer based in Isku-shuban, told Somalia Report.
Pirates told Somalia Report that ransom was paid for the release of the men and cars.
“The cars and drivers were released after at least $10,000 ransom was paid. The government paid the ransom to release these cars because they were rented by Save the Children which operates in the region doing humanitarian operations,” said a pirate based in the region.
Puntland officials, however, denied paying the ransom.
"Yes, a ransom was paid, but the government did not pay it. As we know, this conflict is between a group of pirates. One pirate group paid the ransom to another," said the police officer.
The man behind the carjacking is a pirate leader with the name of Abshir Gardheere (Garweyen) who hails from Ali Saleban clan. The hijacking was revenge for an incident in which Abshir's 4WD SURF was carjacked 10 months ago by pirate crew members who hail from the Osman Mohamud subclan after a disagreement over ransom shares. That SURF was stolen from Xiriiro and brought to Qardho at that time. Abshir asked clan elders to negotiate for the return of his car, but they failed. Abshir vowed to retaliate by carjacking Osman Mohamud owned vehicles that transit into his clan territory and it appears today he was successful.
The cars was transferred to their owners, local businessmen.
Save the Children has not yet commented on the release.