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CRIME

German cargo ship reportedly hijacked off Somali coast

The Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre said on Thursday that a German cargo ship was hijacked along with two other ships off the Somali coast in an unprecedented series of attacks.

German cargo ship reportedly hijacked off Somali coast
Photo: DPA

The incidents brought to six the number of ships menaced in the Gulf of Aden in the past month, said Noel Choong, head of the IMB reporting centre.

A German-operated cargo ship, flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, was the last to be targeted, at 9:45 am GMT, while the Iranian and Japanese tankers were hijacked earlier in the day between 2:00 am GMT and 3:00 am GMT.

Choong said the attacks took place very near to each other, but he was not

able to say whether the same group was responsible.

“Whether it’s a different group of pirates, we can’t tell until an investigation is carried out. We have sent out an urgent warning to all ships travelling through the Gulf of Aden,” he told AFP. “We want to pressure the United Nations and the international community to do something about it, to take steps to stop this menace.”

But he said there was little that could be done without UN intervention since Somalia has no central government.

The waters off Somalia are among the most pirate-infested in the world, with the IMB reporting 24 attacks in Somalia between April and June this year.

The German Foreign ministry said on Thursday it was investigating the latest report.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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