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AP: US Ships Block Help for Pirates holding US Captain
Underscoring the high stakes involved, France's navy on Friday freed a sailboat seized off Somalia last week by other pirates, but one of the hostages was killed, along with two bandits. Three pirates were captured.
A Nairobi-based diplomat, who spoke on condition on anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters, said the pirates have summoned assistance but at least two American ships and an Orion surveillance aircraft are deterring pirate ships and skiffs from contact with the lifeboat.
The pirates have threatened to kill their American hostage, Capt. Richard Phillips, if the U.S. attacks them, according to a Somali who has been in contact with the pirates.
The vice president of the Philippines, the nation with the largest number of sailors held captive by Somali pirates, appealed Saturday for the safety of hostages to be ensured in the standoff.
"We hope that before launching any tactical action against the pirates, the welfare of every hostage is guaranteed and ensured," said Vice President Noli de Castro. "Moreover, any military action is best done in consultation with the United Nations to gain the support and cooperation of other countries."
U.S. rules of engagement prevent the Americans using their vastly superior fighting power to engage the pirates if there is any danger to civilians.
4/11 6:58 AM ET ClipsFC
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