The European Union Naval Force has attacked pirate bases in Somalia for the first time.
In a press release, EU Navfor said it "conducted an operation to destroy pirate equipment on the Somali coastline." Broadcaster BBC
said EU forces were transported by helicopter to the pirate bases near the port of Haradhere and destroyed several boats.
The attack followed a March 23 decision by the Council of the European Union to allow the EU Naval Force to take disruption action against known pirate supplies on shore. EU Navfor said the operation was conducted in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1851 and has the "full support" of Somalia's transitional government.
"The focused, precise and proportionate action was conducted from the air and all forces returned safely to EU warships on completion. Whilst assessment is on-going, surveillance of the area during the action indicates that no Somalis were injured ashore as a result of EU action," it added.
Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Adm. Duncan Potts, said “We believe this action by the EU Naval Force will further increase the pressure on, and disrupt pirates’ efforts to get out to sea to attack merchant shipping and dhows.
"The local Somali people and fishermen – many of whom have suffered so much because of piracy in the region, can be reassured that our focus was on known pirate supplies and will remain so in the future,” he said.
The military said "at no point did EU Naval Force ‘boots’ go ashore."
Potts called the action "merely an extension of the disruption actions carried out against pirate ships at sea, and Operation Atalanta remains committed to fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa and the humanitarian mission of protecting World Food Programme ships that bring vital aid to the Somali people.”
noted anti-piracy forces have been reluctant to attack mainland bases, fearing for the crews of captured ships and said that currently pirates are believed to be holding about 17 ships and 300 crewmen. - Chris Dupin