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Kenya will take pirates

FRANCE plans to hand 11 Somali pirates seized in a naval raid this week to Kenyan authorities, as Europe is ramping up its mission to fight a growing number of attacks in the waters off East Africa.

Somali gangs in small boats are challenging the world's military powers with strikes along major trade routes, expanding their operations toward Kenya and the Seychelles islands, defense officials said.

"It's a difficult task and the pirates are very active," a source at the Council of the European Union said.

Sweden will send two frigates and a refueling vessel to reinforce the EU's anti-piracy mission in May, while the Netherlands and Norway will each deploy a vessel in August, the source said.

After falling sharply earlier this year, the number of attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean more than doubled to 24 in March from 11 in February, French armed forces spokesman Christophe Prazuck told a news conference yesterday.

There have been 18 attacks in April so far.

French forces taking part in EU's mission captured the 11 pirates in waters east of the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Kenya has agreed to deal with the detainees under accords with the EU, Britain and the United States, but it has said it cannot try all pirates.


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