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MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Islamic extremists have detained foreign sailors, who may be Iranian, and seized their fishing vessel that washed up on the Somali shore, according to residents of a central Somali coastal town.
Somalia's al-Shabab rebels detained Iranian fishermen whose vessel had developed mechanical problems and drifted into the militants' stronghold, Yasin Maalin, a resident of El-Dher town in the coastal region of Galgadud, told The Associated Press by phone.
However, Ali Hussein, another resident, said the sailors' nationality was not immediately certain. It was not known how many sailors were detained.
It was not possible to get a comment from al-Shabab, the militant group that is allied with al-Qaida and has carried out many deadly attacks across Somalia.
Despite losing some of its top leaders in U.S. air strikes and being pushed by African Union forces out of the capital, Mogadishu, al-Shabab still has control over territory in south and central Somalia.
The group still carries out deadly bombings against government targets and public places seen as popular with foreigners.
The extremists have also attacked neighboring Kenya, which has sent troops to Somalia to fight the insurgents.
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