Islamic Militants Vow to Take on Tanker Pirates

Promise to protect 'Muslim property'
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Nov 23, 2008 8:38 AM CST
The oil tanker MV Sirius Star was highjacked by pirates last week in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia. The tanker is loaded with $100 million in crude oil.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class William S. Stevens)
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(Newser) – Islamic militants have vowed to liberate a Saudi oil tanker seized a week ago by pirates off the Somali coast, reports CNN. Five armored vehicles arrived in the nearby Somali town of Harardhere filled with al-Shebab fighters, who told residents they would battle the pirates because the tanker, carrying $100 million in crude oil, is owned by a Muslim country, said a witness. "If the pirates want peace, they had better release the tanker," warned a spokesman for the militants.

Some residents speculated that the militants, battling for control of Somalia, merely want a share of the $25 million ransom. The pirates were apparently unfazed by the threat. "We are the Shebab of the sea and can't be scared by the Shebab of the land," a pirate spokesman told Agence France Presse. "If anybody attempts to attack, that would be suicide."