update Three Britons pardoned in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somalia has freed six foreigners who had been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison each for bringing into the country millions of dollars intended for pirate ransom, a government spokesman said Sunday. And in Washington, the Pentagon has notified Congress that it plans to send nearly $45 million in military aid to Uganda and Burundi to help battle the growing terrorist threat in Somalia. The spokesman said the country’s president had pardoned the foreigners. The three Britons, an American and two Kenyans were freed after the court processed their release, he said. The men were arrested in Mogadishu last month after two planes were found to be carrying millions of dollars in cash. On June 18, two of the defendants were sentenced to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, and the others were sentenced to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. Pirates have been receiving millions of dollars in ransoms for several years, but this was the first time Westerners were sentenced for their role in paying out the ransoms. The conflict and instability that has allowed piracy to flourish has also led an insurgent group with ties to Al Qaeda to gain control of large parts of the country.