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Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 12:07 UK

Somalia pirates hijack two ships

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Two cargo ships have been hijacked by pirates off the Somali coast, Kenya's Seafarers' Assistance Programme says.

The ships - from Germany and Turkey - were seized on Wednesday, days after a Dutch vessel was reported hijacked.

The German MV Lehman Timber and Turkish MV Arean were taken by the same pirate group, the Kenyan maritime body said.

More than 25 ships were seized off the Somali coast last year, despite patrols by an international maritime force based in Djibouti.

Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers' Assistance Programme said no information had been received about the crews.

Meanwhile, authorities in Somalia's Puntland region said they had deployed forces to rescue the Dutch vessel, MV Amiya Scan.

The president of the semi-autonomous region said they would rescue the vessel by force if necessary.

The International Maritime Bureau has warned ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden to take precautionary measures against possible attacks.

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