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Mr Musa Abdullahi, who denied being a pirate, said he had been involved in ferrying people from Bosasu to Yemen for the past five years.
The man, who was giving evidence before Mombasa chief magistrate Rosemelle Mutoka, said that after being arrested, he and his six co-accused were beaten when they were on board a warship which brought them into the country.
Mr Abdullahi said on March 28 last year, his skiff arrived in Bosasu with 30 people on board.
The accused — together with Mr Mohamed Abdikadir, Mr Mohamed Isse, Mr Mohamed Ahmed, Mr Khalif Yusuf, Mr Mohamed Abdi and Mr Ahmed Warsame — allegedly attacked German navy supply ship Spessart.
Mr Abdullahi told the court that on the day of his arrest, it took one hour for people to disembark from the skiff in Yemen, after which the vessel started the journey back to Bosasu.
He said five of the accused were the crew of the skiff, while he and another owned the vessel.
Mr Abdullahi, who was being led in his evidence by defence counsel Jared Magolo, said when they arrived at the Somali coast from Yemen on March 29 last year, they saw a plane flying over their skiff.
“The plane later started firing at us, another came and hovered above our skiff,” said Mr Abdullahi, adding that the first plane continued firing at them.
This forced us to stop the skiff before we were arrested, he said.
He denied having any weapons on the skiff, saying he saw them for the first time in court.
Mr Abdullahi said most of the people they transport from Bosasu to Yemen end up in Ethiopia, with some finding their way into the country.
Upon cross-examination by the prosecutor, Mr Vincent Monda, the accused said there was no Global Positioning System found on their skiff.
Mr Abdullahi told the court that he uses a compass to navigate the sea and that he is the one who operates it.
The hearing of the case continues.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland