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The MV Leila, a Panama flagged roll on/roll off (Ro/Ro) vessel hijacked by Somali pirates near Oman last Thursday, arrived off the coast of Bargal in Bari region of the semi-autonomous state of Puntland, according to local officials.
''The pirates and the ship arrived here early this morning. There are 24 crew on the board with different nationalities, some of the crew are from Panama,'' Abdiaziiz Wali, a local official from Bargal, told Somalia Report.
A businessman from Berbera, located in the breakaway region of Somaliland, and the city where the vessel was heading before it was hijacked, confirmed the news.
''They arrived Bargal. We contacted them and the crew are safe. With the help of different areas elders, businessmen from the Puntland area, and local authorities, we have started negotiations,'' the businessman told Somalia Report on the condition of anonymity.
Local residents voiced their concern over the arrival of vessel.
''We have told the pirates in our loudest voice they are not welcome in Bargal, but they have no ears. They are deaf and arrogant. They only know how to do Haraam (forbidden) things. Pirates are not welocome in Bargal. They are thiefs, and their hands should be cut off, as Allah says in the holy book,'' said Osman, a local elder in Bargal.
Recently, Puntland police arrested 11 pirates in Gabac village, near Eyl, during anti-piracy operations in Nugaal region, according to Puntland officials.
Prior to arriving in Bargal, MV Leila's last known position was 16.47 N-056. 15E, the eastern entrance to the Gulf of Aden, on course of 260 at 4 knots, according to the Maritime Security Center Horn Of Africa (MSCHOA).
The vessel, built in 1973, is owned and operated by New Port Cargo & Shipping of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.