The Northern state of Somalia has jailed nine Somali pirates for 15 to 20 years by a court in the breakaway northern state of Somaliland, an official said on Sunday, the AFP reported.

The nine pirates were found guilty of piracy and seven of them were given a jail term of 15 years, while two others were sentenced to 20 years, Mohamed Hashi, a Somaliland police officer told AFP by telephone from Berbera, the state's main port, the paper reported.

The pirates also admitted being guilty of chasing ships off Somaliland waters, added Hashi, who was in court for Saturday's hearing in Berbera.

The accused were arrested initially on April 18 by a Dutch navy warship patrolling the Gulf of Aden as part of NATO's anti-piracy mission.

Seven pirates have been jailed for 20 years by Somaliland's judicial authorities.