PARIS - The French navy captured 12 suspected pirates off the coasts of Somalia and the Seychelles Thursday, an army spokesman said Friday, as part of Europe's anti-piracy mission in the area.
The French frigate Floreal captured a mothership carrying arms, ammunition and fuel as well as two skiffs some 650 miles east of Hobyo in Somalia and 500 miles to the northwest of the Seychelles, spokesman Christophe Prazuck said.
Attacks on tuna boats and private yachts off the Seychelles have surged in recent weeks as Somali pirates extend their range to evade navies patrolling off the Horn of Africa.
France's defense ministry said in a statement that as part of Europe's anti-piracy Operation Atalanta, a patrol plane from Luxembourg had guided the Floreal to some suspicious-looking boats Wednesday.
The Floreal then chased the boats and captured their occupants.
Prazuck said France had not yet decided how to proceed with the suspected pirates. In the past, pirates have at times been handed over to authorities in the Seychelles or Kenya as lawless Somalia lacks the means to prosecute them.
(Reporting by Sophie Hardach)