A group of armed Islamist militants is reportedly headed to a Somali port Friday to attack pirates holding hostage a massive Saudi Arabian oil tanker.
The militants are angered because the piracy involves a ship owned by Muslims, according to Reuters.
Somali pirates captured the Sirius Star last weekend about 450 nautical miles southeast of Kenya's Mombasa port. It's believed to be anchored in the port of Haradheere, about midway up Somalia's coastline.
Islamist leaders, fighting a two-year insurgency against the government and its Ethiopian military allies, deny allegations they collude with pirates and insist they will stamp down on them if they win power.
Some analysts, however, say Islamist militants are benefiting from the spoils of piracy and arms shipments facilitated by the sea gangs.
The supertanker, which is three times the size of an aircraft carrier, is carrying $100 million US worth of oil. The ship — itself worth about $100 million — has a crew of 25 people from the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Poland and Britain.
The pirates have asked for $25 million in ransom, according to unconfirmed reports....... (continued)