Somali forces seize Greek ships after shootout
Security forces in northern Somalia's Puntland region seized two Greek fishing vessels after a gun battle today and accused them of fishing illegally in its waters.
Puntland coastguard boss Abdiweli Ali told reporters one of his men had been injured in the shoot-out at sea off the Horn of Africa.
"We wanted to know the legitimacy of these two ships, but as we approached they opened fire on us," he said. "We defended ourselves. One of our soldiers was injured. Their fishing licences were expired, and that is why they fought us."
Somali authorities have long accused European fishing fleets of illegally trawling their waters - which are also roamed by pirate who hijacked dozens of vessels last year.
The two Greek ships were brought to Bosasso port, witnesses said, but reporters were stopped from taking pictures of them. Their names and details of their crews not immediately clear.
The fisheries minister of the semi-autonomous Puntland region contradicted the coastguard and said the two Greek vessels did have valid fishing licences.
"The captain of one of the ships called us when they were surrounded," said Mohamed Saleh. "I told the coastguard not to attack ... But they turned a deaf ear and captured the ships."
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