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Pirates in shoot out over multi-million-dollar ransom

The Alakrana is escorted to safety by Spanish warships on November 17 after being held for 47 days.
The Alakrana is escorted to safety by Spanish warships on November 17 after being held for 47 days.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At least two pirates were wounded in a gunfight over a ransom they received for the release of a Spanish boat
  • The Alakrana, the Spanish fishing vessel, was freed Tuesday along with its 36 crew members
  • Two pirate suspects, captured a day after the Alakrana was hijacked, were indicted on charges Monday in Madrid
RELATED TOPICS
  • Spain
  • Somalia
  • Pirates

(CNN) -- Somali pirates exchanged gunfire Wednesday over a ransom they received for releasing a Spanish fishing boat, a local journalist in contact with the pirates said.

"There was a heavy exchange of gunfire between some of our friends" one pirate told the local journalist, speaking of the other pirates.

"They fought over the 3 million euro ($4.5 million) received as a ransom from the Spanish boat."

At least two pirates were wounded in the gunfight in Harardhere, a pirate stronghold in central Somalia, the local journalist told CNN.

The Alakrana, the Spanish fishing vessel, was freed Tuesday along with its 36 crew members, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said. It had been held for 47 days.

Zapatero did not say how the ship was freed. Spanish media -- including CNN sister station CNN+, which cited a source it said was close to the negotiations -- reported that a ransom had been paid.

The crew included 16 sailors from Spain and 20 from Africa and Asia.

A day after the hijacking, Spanish military monitoring the situation captured two pirate suspects as they left the fishing boat and later brought them to Madrid. The two were indicted Monday on 36 counts of kidnapping and armed robbery.

They could face sentences of more than 200 years in prison each because of the multiple kidnapping counts.

Pirates have captured more than 50 ships this year off Somalia.