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US transfers Somali pirate suspects to Seychelles

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The island nation of Seychelles says it has agreed to accept 15 Somali pirate suspects from U.S. military custody for prosecution.

The announcement on Tuesday follows an agreement between Seychelles President James Michel and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the two nations would continue to collaborate in the fight against piracy.

The Seychelles is a crucial linchpin in the fight against piracy. The U.S. military flies aerial surveillance drones from the island nation.

A top Seychelles official, Joel Morgan, said the prosecution would send a clear signal to pirates that they can't attack ships with impunity. About 20 percent of the roughly 500 prisoners in the Seychelles are Somali pirates.