NAIROBI, Kenya — Four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa were shot and killed by their captors Tuesday, the U.S. military said, marking the first time U.S. citizens have been killed in a wave of pirate attacks plaguing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean for years….
President Barack Obama, who was notified about the deaths at 4:42 a.m. Washington time, had authorized the military on Saturday to use force in case of an imminent threat to the hostages, said White House spokesman Jay Carney….
He identified the slain Americans as Jean and Scott Adam, of Marina del Rey near Los Angeles, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle, Washington.
The Quest was the home of the Adams who had been sailing around the world since December 2004 with a yacht full of Bibles….
“Some pirates have even suggested rigging the yacht with land mines and explosives so as the whole yacht explodes with the first gunshot,” said the pirate, who gave his name as Abdullahi Mohamed, who claimed to be a friend of the pirates holding the four Americans.
Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, the head of Dryad Maritime Intelligence, said he was confounded by the turn of events.
“We have heard threats against the lives of Americans before but it strikes me as being very, very unusual why they would kill hostages outright,” he said, adding that the pirates must realize that killing Americans would invite a military response….
Really? In the age of Obama?
Pirates “” who currently hold 30 ships and more than 660 hostages “” typically win a multimillion ransom for releasing their captives, a huge sum that is shared among investors and pirates. The money is often spent on alcohol, drugs and prostitutes. One ransom paid last year was reported as $9.5 million. Most ransoms are worth several million dollars.
Given that typical financial motivation, Tuesday’s killings left several unanswered questions, such as whether the four hostages had tried to take over the yacht from the pirates, or if the American forces spooked the pirates by approaching the yacht….
Or maybe the Bibles irked the pirates.