Sjørøverne er rasende og lover å hevne seg på franskmenn og amerikanere fordi de våget å gripe til våpen for å befri landsmenn som de hadde tatt som gisler.
«Every country will be treated the way it treats us,» said Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town.
«In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying,» he told The Associated Press by telephone. «We will retaliate for the killings of our men.»
He gave no details and it was not clear in what way the pirates could retaliate, though some fear they could take their revenge on the hundreds of other foreign nationals they hold on seized ships.
The rescue dealt a blow to pirates who regularly seize passing ships and hold them captive until multimillion dollar ransoms are paid. But it is unlikely to help quell the region’s growing pirate threat, which has turned the Gulf of Aden and the waterways along Somalia’s coast into some of the most dangerous shipping lanes on the planet.
Pirates currently hold more than a dozen foreign ships, most moored along the Horn of Africa nation’s long coast, with about 230 foreign sailors from Russia to the Philippines.
The American rescue followed a similar operation Friday carried out by French navy commandos, who stormed a pirate-held sailboat, the Tanit, in a shootout at sea that killed two pirates and freed four French hostages. The French owner of the vessel was also killed in the assault.
Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told The Associated Press that the three pirates’ deaths were «a painful experience.» Speaking from the pirate hub, Eyl, he added: «this will be a good lesson for us.»
«From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them,» Habeb said. «Now they became our number one enemy,» he said of U.S. forces.
Hva skjer hvis piratene gjør alvor av sine trusler? Kommer de ettergivende norske interesseorganisasjoner og shipping-selskaper til å anklage amerikanerne? Når noen står opp og forsvarer seg, må man velge side. Men hvilke side står norske medier på, som snakker om at Phillips ble løslatt eller frigitt? Da Dagsnytt meldte at et kapret ukrainsk skip var på vei til livbåten hvor Phillips ble holdt fanget, sa de at piratene ønsket å bruke skipet som «vern» mot amerikanske krigsskip.