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Somalis challenge legality of US naval action against alleged pirates

[JURIST] A Somali advocacy group claimed Monday that the US Navy was illegally present in Somali waters when its ships launched an unprovoked attack on a small vessel over the weekend, taking twelve occupants into custody. The Navy said the vessel was being investigated for suspected piracy when it unexpectedly fired shots [AP report] at the USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez. According to a Fifth Fleet [official website] spokesman, five Somali men were wounded and one killed when US Navy ships "returned fire after being fired upon" 25 nautical miles off the Somalia coast. The boat burst into flames and burned to the waterline. Somali militia claimed afterwards that the boat had been patrolling the coastal waters to protect against illegal fishing.

The Somali Justice Advocacy Center has more. Read the Navy's press release on the action, with photographs of the Somali vessel and arms seized.

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