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A week after Somali pirates released seven of the 21 crew of the hijacked MV ALBEDO, Somalia Report has learned that pirate commanders and investors are fighting over the ransom.
On July 31st of this year, pirates released seven Pakistani crew members who had been held over 20 months after receiving $1.2 million in ransom. Since then, pirate investors demanded $700,000 of the take to be used for reinvesting while the remaining $500,000 was to be divided to the all members including commanders, investors and Ilaalo group, as well as negotiators from Himan and Heeb administration, according to pirates who spoke to Somalia Report.
But the pirate commanders, led by Guushaaye, refused to hand over $200,000 of the money resulting in a major conflict among the two groups with the hostages and the vessel being used as bargaining chips.
“When the Pakistani crew was released around $1.2 million was paid. Guushaaye and his vice commanders took some of the ransom. Investors requested that most of this money should be used as an investment to hold another crew and vessel and all members must take only a small amount of money. Investors like Huseen Hamarow and Ahmed Sayruuq want their money, but the Guushaaye and his allied men took the ransom and divided it among themselves without any plans to reinvest in future operations,” Abdiraham Ali, a pirate from this group, told Somalia Report.
After Guushaaye and his men took the ransom, a group of investors led by Huseen Hamarow and Ahmed Sayruuq attacked Gushaaye's group.
“Investors attacked Guushaaye’s guards and seized the 15 remaining hostages in Camaara village today (Monday). The investors moved back the crew on board the vessel and they put another 20 armed pirates on board to not only guard the hostages but defend against any attempt by Guushaaye's gang to get them. The investors claimed that now they are holding the vessel and Guushaaye and his men can’t come near the it," the pirate told Somalia Report.
"There was gunfire but nobody was injured," added the pirate.
Huseen Hamarow, a pirate from Saleebaan clan, was one of the investors and said he lost thousands of dollars when Guushaaye took the ransom. Ahmed Sayruuq, also from the Saleeban clan, was the khat (a narcotic stimulant leaf) dealer for the group and also provided food for the pirates. The ransom from the Pakistanis was meant, he claimed, to help pay for his expenses in supplying the pirates.
Sources from the group added that the 15 hostages are doing well given the circumstances after spending the last several weeks in Camaara-village.
Guushaaye and his gang left Ceel-Huur and went to cities in central Somalia to spend the money, and most recently arrived in Cadaado district of Himan and Heeb in the Galgaduud region.
The investors also added that they will release the remaining crew members country by country if their relatives contact them and a ransom can be negotiated.
The MV ALBEDO, IMO number 9041162 and built in 1993 with a dry weight of 15566 t, is owned by Malaysia-based Enrich Shipping, and was attacked by pirates on November 26, 2010 while underway from Mombasa to Jebel Ali, 293 miles west of the Maldives on the Indian Ocean.
Of the original 23 hostages initially seized in the hijacking, one died during captivity. The seven Pakistanis have been released and pirates claim to be holding 15 others - seven Bangladeshis, six Sri Lankans, one Indian and Iranian.