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Four suspected pirates killed by Danish frigate in Gulf of Guinea

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Danish special forces have killed four suspected pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, south of Nigeria, in an operation aimed at ensuring safe shipping in the Gulf of Guinea, the Danish military said on Thursday.

The frigate Esbern Snare on Wednesday responded to alerts of increased pirate activity in the area, where the vessel has been deployed to protect private trade ships.

The frigate deployed last month to the Gulf of Guinea amid heightened security risks from pirates, on Wednesday spotted a vessel it suspected of carrying eight pirates near several commercial ships, Danish Defence said.

Special forces approached a small motorized vessel with eight people on board who then opened fire. The Danish troops returned fire, killing four and wounding one, while the small vessel sank. The remaining three suspected pirates are in custody.

The incident happened outside Nigeria’s territorial waters, a spokesman said.

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After the frigate fired warning shots, the pirates opened fire against Danish personnel, who in turn shot and killed four pirates and wounded one in self-defence, Danish Defence said in a statement.

It was the first time the frigate opened fire during the current mission to the Gulf of Guinea, the spokesman said.

The remaining four pirates were taken on board the frigate, and no Danish personnel were hurt in the incident, the military said.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and main opposition lawmaker Jakob Elleman had both planned to visit the frigate during a visit to Ghana on Wednesday and Thursday.

Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet reported on Thursday they had not been on board the frigate during the incident.

The frigate will operate in the gulf until April next year.

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