COPY-Pirate reinforcements reportedly turned back

Associated Press - April 11, 2009 4:03 PM ET

MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) - It appears at least some of the Somali pirates headed out to help the pirates holding an American sea captain hostage in a lifeboat have given up.

Four seized vessels still carrying hostages from a variety of other nations had reportedly been headed to the spot more than 300 miles off the coast of Somalia where the lifeboat is adrift.

But a resident of a Somali town (Harardhere) known as a pirate hub says at least one pirate captain returned home today, looking tired. He's says the pirates abandoned plans to help the four bandits on the lifeboat because they found it surrounded by U.S. forces.

The man says the pirate captain told him that his ship got within sight of a U.S. Navy destroyer but then received a warning not to come closer. He says they left the scene without ever seeing the lifeboat.

A second Somali man says two other ships turned back yesterday fearing a showdown.

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