MOSCOW — The Russian military did not intend to kill Somali pirates who are believed to be dead after being set afloat at sea in a small boat about 10 days ago, a senior commander was quoted as saying Monday.
Navy captain Ildar Akhmerov confirmed earlier reports that the 10 captured pirates and their one dead comrade who had attempted to seize a Russian oil tanker were put to sea in a boat without any navigation equipment.
“We did not have the task of destroying the pirates during the operation to free the tanker. There was one main goal: to free the ship’s crew,” Akhmerov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
“Our military medics gave the necessary medical help to all of the wounded bandits. We loaded the dead bandit’s body onto one of the pirates’ boats with the rest of the pirates, and sent it to the nearest coast, towards Somalia.”
“We loaded water, food and all their other things — except the confiscated weapons, boarding ladders and navigation tools — into the pirates’ boat,” he said.
“The further fate of the released pirates is not known to us.”