3 killed as Somali pirates fight over ransom

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3 killed as Somali pirates fight over ransom
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, masked Somali pirate Hassan stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel that washed up on shore after the pirates were paid a ransom and released the crew, in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. Three Somali pirates were killed in a fight over the ransom paid to free the German-American journalist Michael Scott Moore who was released this week after two years and eight months of captivity, a Somali police official said Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)
In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, masked Somali pirate Abdi Ali stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel that washed up on shore after the pirates were paid a ransom and released the crew, in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. The empty whisky bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs that litter this shoreline are signs that the heyday of Somali piracy may be over - most of the prostitutes are gone, the luxury cars repossessed, and pirates talk more about catching lobsters than seizing cargo ships. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, a Somali government soldier stands over one of the overturned pirate skiffs that litter the dunes on the shoreline near the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. The empty whisky bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs that litter this shoreline are signs that the heyday of Somali piracy may be over - most of the prostitutes are gone, the luxury cars repossessed, and pirates talk more about catching lobsters than seizing cargo ships. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, a Somali soldier looks out at a Taiwanese fishing vessel that washed up on shore after the pirates were paid a ransom and released the crew, in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. World sea piracy fell for a third straight year in 2013, as Somali pirates were curbed by international naval patrols and improved ship vigilance, an international maritime watchdog said Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)
In this photo taken Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, Somali pirate Mohamed Jama maintains the gun he has not used for months, in the once-bustling pirate town of Galkayo, Somalia. The empty whisky bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs that litter this shoreline are signs that the heyday of Somali piracy may be over - most of the prostitutes are gone, the luxury cars repossessed, and pirates talk more about catching lobsters than seizing cargo ships. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, Somali pirate Abdirizaq Saleh, who once had bodyguards and maids and the attention of beautiful women, walks down the street to his home filled with the dust-covered TVs and high-end clothes he acquired when he was flush but where he now hides from creditors, in the once-bustling pirate town of Galkayo, Somalia. The empty whisky bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs that litter this shoreline are signs that the heyday of Somali piracy may be over - most of the prostitutes are gone, the luxury cars repossessed, and pirates talk more about catching lobsters than seizing cargo ships. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A Somali inmate detained in an anti-piracy operation conducted by Seychelles Coast Guard, pauses as he works at the incarceration block in Montagne Posee near Victoria, Seychelles, Friday, March 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Shantha Lakmali , wife of missing Sri Lankan fisherman Shantha Sebestian, holds her crying child as another looks at the identity card of her husband at her residence in Negombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Families say Somali pirates are demanding US$6 million for the release of six Sri Lankan fishermen who they have abducted three months ago. Niroshan Anthony, older brother of abducted fisherman Shantha Sebastian said Wednesday the fishermen set out to sea in Negombo at the country's west coast last September for multi-day fishing but lost contact with the vessel after one month. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Relatives of missing Sri Lankan fisherman Jesudasan Rodrigo stand outside their residence in Negombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Families say Somali pirates are demanding US$6 million for the release of six Sri Lankan fishermen who they have abducted three months ago. Niroshan Anthony, older brother of abducted fisherman Shantha Sebastian said Wednesday the fishermen set out to sea in Negombo at the country's west coast last September for multi-day fishing but lost contact with the vessel after one month. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
The MV Pacific Express which was set on fire by suspected Somali pirates on Sept. 21, 2011 is towed along the Likoni channel by Kenya Ports Authority tug boats to the port of Mombasa, Kenya Friday Sept. 30, 2011. The ship which was ferrying 3,300 metric tonnes of steel wire to be off-loaded at the port of Mombasa and some buses destined for Dar-se-Salaam, Tanzania, was hijacked by Somali pirates and set alight after the crew refused to open the cabins doors, 180 nautical miles south east of Mombassa . The pirates abandoned the burning ship, escaping in their boats while the crew on the MV Pacific Express were rescued by the Dar es Salaam bound MV Andrea Doria. The crew of the MV Pacific Express arrived in Mombassa last Saturday aboard the MV Eland. Twenty five of the crew members were Philippines while one of them was a Ukrainian. (AP Photo)
The MV Pacific Express which was set on fire by suspected Somali pirates on Sept. 21, 2011 is towed along the Likoni channel by Kenya Ports Authority tug boats to the port of Mombasa, Kenya Friday Sept. 30, 2011. The ship which was ferrying 3,300 metric tonnes of steel wire to be off-loaded at the port of Mombasa and some buses destined for Dar-se-Salaam, Tanzania, was hijacked by Somali pirates and set alight after the crew refused to open the cabins doors, 180 nautical miles south east of Mombassa . The pirates abandoned the burning ship, escaping in their boats while the crew on the MV Pacific Express were rescued by the Dar es Salaam bound MV Andrea Doria. The crew of the MV Pacific Express arrived in Mombassa last Saturday aboard the MV Eland. Twenty five of the crew members were Philippines while one of them was a Ukrainian. (AP Photo)
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MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Three Somali pirates were killed in a fight over the ransom paid to free the German-American journalist who was released this week after two years and eight months of captivity, a police official said Friday.

The gunfight broke out in the central town of Galkayo late Thursday when some of the pirates who held Michael Scott Moore attacked their comrades, accusing them of conducting a secret deal with negotiators, said Mohamed Hassan. A top pirate commander was among three people killed after Moore was freed on Tuesday, he said, adding that one camp of pirates accused the other of betrayal.

The clash started after one group of pirates appeared unwilling to share the cash with others, Bile Hussein, a pirate commander in the coastal town of Hobyo, told The Associated Press on Friday. He said earlier that a ransom of $1.6 million was paid by Somali intermediaries acting on behalf of Germany.

Germany's Foreign Ministry hasn't confirmed money was paid and U.S. policy forbids the payment of ransoms.

The 45-year-old Moore, who holds both German and U.S. citizenship, was flown to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where he was said to be getting medical care after being freed in Somalia, according to Germany's Foreign Ministry. A statement issued Thursday through the German magazine Der Spiegel, for which Moore had freelanced in the past, said he was safe but not healthy.

Moore was seized by pirates in January 2012 in Galkayo as he drove from the airport. Just four days later, U.S. Navy SEALs rescued an American and a Dane in a nighttime raid while killing all nine of their guards. Those two had also been kidnapped in Galkayo in October 2011.

Hussein, the pirate commander, said the pirates who held Moore grew tired of keeping him and were increasingly concerned the U.S. would attempt to use force to secure the journalist's freedom. The pirates had been holding out for a ransom of $5 million, he said, but decided to settle for $1.6 million offered by negotiators after a long period of silence.

The towns of Hobyo and Galkayo are well-known pirate dens in Somalia and Moore was abducted around the time pirates turned to kidnappings for income after their income from hijacking ships declined as a result of armed international vessels conducting anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia.

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