France In Contact with Somali Pirates

April 7, 2008
Luxury Cruise Yacht Victim of Pirate Attack
Updated: Luxury Yacht Still Held By Pirates

(April 7, 10 a.m.) -- A team from the GIGN, an elite French force, has headed to East Africa's Djibouti, to serve as possible support for a rescue mission (if negotiations fail of course), a French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said today. A military spokemsan also reported that the "situation aboard the yacht remained 'calm' Monday," according to a report from the AP.

(April 6, 7 p.m.) -- French officials have finally made contact with the Somali pirates who hijacked a luxury yacht on Friday. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner reported only that "we have established contact, and the case may take a long time." He was noncommittal as to whether France would consider a paying a ransom, but did say, "We have to do everything to avoid bloodshed."

Reports from a local fisherman and Abdirahman Mohamed Bangah, information minister for the semiautonomous northern region of Puntland, confirm that the hijacked ship has arrived in the town of Eyl, on the northern coast. Eyl is about 310 miles north of Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The approximately 30 hostages (22 from France, about 10 from Ukraine) are currently being treated well and have been given food.

About a dozen pirates remain with the ship.

--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor