WASHINGTON(Reuters) - Five men from Somalia were
convicted Wednesday in a federal court in Virginia on piracy
and other criminal charges over an April attack on a U.S. Navy
ship off the coast of Africa, a Justice Department spokesman
The guilty verdict was reached by a federal jury in U.S.
District Court in Norfolk, Virginia. The five face mandatory
life-in-prison terms at sentencing scheduled before a federal
judge on March 14, the spokesman said.
The five men were captured after the April 1 attack in
which a Navy frigate, the USS Nicholas, exchanged fire with a
suspected pirate vessel in the Indian Ocean west of the
Seychelles, sinking a skiff and confiscating its mother ship.
The five, and a group of six Somalis captured after
allegedly firing on another U.S. warship in April, were brought
to Norfolk to face charges in U.S. criminal court over the two
attacks. One of the six pleaded guilty in August while the case
against the others remains pending.
Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have hijacked
vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden for years,
making millions of dollars in ransoms by seizing ships,
including oil tankers, despite the presence of dozens of
foreign naval vessels.
(Reporting by James Vicini; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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