SOMALIA.– A Somali court has jailed six foreigners, an American, three Britons and two Kenyans, for illegally bringing $3.6 million dollars into the country reportedly to pay ransoms to pirates.
Two men received 15-year sentences and fines of $15,000, the others faced sentences of 10 years in jail and fines of $10,000 each.
This marks the first time foreigners have been sentenced for involvement in delivering ransoms to pirates who were holding hijacked ships.
The six men were arrested May 24 shortly after their plane landed at Mogadishu, they were allegedly waiting for another small aircraft to take the cash and fly it to another location.
Both the aircraft and the money has been confiscated by the Somali government.
It is illegal in Somalia to the pay ransoms to pirates, however the practice remains routine. The U.N. reports that over $110 million in ransoms were paid to Somali pirates just last year.
Somali pirates have recently increased their attacks, commandeering several commercial boats. Currently, at least 24 ships and their crew are believed to be being held for ransom along the Somali coast.