Washington, Feb 23 (IANS) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday strongly condemned the killing of four Americans by pirates off Somalia, calling for “continued international progress” toward confronting the menace posed by piracy, Xinhua reported.
“This deplorable act firmly underscores the need for continued international progress toward confronting the shared security challenge posed by piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa,” Clinton said in a statement.
The victims’ yacht, the S/V Quest, was seized by pirates off the coast of Oman last Friday. It had since been shadowed by the US military. The hostages were killed Tuesday during an attempt to free them.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that President Barack Obama had authorized the use of force over the weekend in case of an imminent threat to the hostages.
The US Central Command said that two pirates were also killed and 13 others captured and detained in the hostage drama.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims’ families at this time,” Clinton said. “We will honor their memory by continuing to strengthen international partnerships in order to bring these maritime criminals to justice.”
She added: “The United States encourages those members of the international community concerned about stability in Somalia and piracy to contribute to AMISOM (the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia) by providing material, financial and logistical support.
“The United States also encourages additional African contributions to the AMISOM peacekeeping force.”