March 12, 2011 Dalkayaga@gmail.com
Officials said forces from the northern Somali breakaway state where the seven hostages - four adults and three teenage children - have been held since February 24 were approaching the pirates' lair and were intercepted on the way.
"Puntland armed forces clashed with pirates near Bandar Beyla and the information we're getting indicates that there were casualties," said Abdifatah Mohamed, a security official based in Bosasso.
"Some of our soldiers were killed and one of our trucks was destroyed," he said.
"A reinforcement of 11 armed vehicles has left Garowe," the administrative capital of Puntland, he added.