Becky Yeh and Chad Groening – OneNewsNow – 2/22/2011 8:40:00 AM
The U.S. military reports that four Bible-distributing Americans have been killed after being taken hostage by Somali pirates who hijacked their yacht last Friday.
Somali pirates shot and killed Scott and Jean Adam of Del Rey, California, as well as Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle — four Christians aboard a yacht owned by the California couple who sailed around the world to distribute copies of the Bible.
According to CBS News, the yacht was trailed by four U.S. Navy warships. When shots were heard aboard, the U.S. attempted to provide life-saving care, but the victims’ wounds were too severe. Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern (ICC) says it is unusual for Somali pirates to kill Americans, because they have released hostages in the past.
“Their primary goal is money,” he explains. “They want to get money, and it is a criminal enterprise that…many Somalis [have] been engaged in.”
Though years of violence have permeated the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, this incident is the first time the Somali pirates have murdered Americans. But Racho hopes the killings will motivate the federal government to take action.
“It affects the national security of the U.S., and even the international peace,” he laments. “And I hope and expect the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. government and other governments around the world to concentrate their efforts in order to respond to the growing threat by the pirates.”
But though the ICC spokesman suspects the pirates are only concerned with money, the former commander of the USS Cole believes the brutal murders are a sign that these acts are no longer just about ransom.
“The pirates are no longer willing to just stay within the realm of a business model of hijacking large ships, demanding ransom, holding the crew hostage and turning them over,” suggests Kirk Lippold, a retired Navy commander who is now the senior military fellow at Military Families United. “They are now going after specifically Americans on vessels that they know are not going to provide huge ransoms. And this, in fact, is now getting into the realm of terrorism.”
But he agrees that it is time for the Obama administration to respond by actively working to eliminate the piracy threat at sea and ashore.
“These terrorists have crossed the line. These pirates have done a dastardly deed, and it is absolutely incumbent upon the government and this administration to now begin planning to take affirmative action to eliminate that threat at sea and ashore,” Lippold contends.
The California couple was expected to arrive in Crete by April before heading for Istanbul. Prior to their murder, the two distributed Bibles in Alaska, parts of the Fiji Islands, Central America and French Polynesia.