BOSASSO, March 16 (Reuters) - Somali maritime forces have exchanged gunfire with the hijackers of an oil tanker in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, the head of the maritime force said.
"We tried to intercept a boat that was carrying supplies to the pirates, but pirates on the ship fired on us and so the pirate boat escaped," said Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of the maritime force in the semiautonomous northern region of Puntland.
Pirate Abdulaahi claimed the pirates killed a member of the marine force and injured another, but Hassan said that was untrue.
Residents near the ship, which was hijacked on Monday with eight Sri Lankan crew aboard, confirmed hearing the gunfire. (Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Hugh Lawson)