French soldiers in the Indian Ocean opened fire Tuesday on pirates, warding off an attack on two French tuna fishing vessels off the Seychelles Islands, a military official said.

French military spokesman Rear Adm. Christophe Prazuck said the two French tuna trawlers were attacked Tuesday about 200 nautical miles off the Seychelles islands.

He said the pirates fled following the French counterattack and that the incident was finished for the moment. He said the French soldiers were not following the pirates because they are aboard slow-moving fishing boats.

Earlier information from another official had suggested the operation was still under way and that the French were chasing the pirates.

France's government has been stationing military personnel aboard fishing boats off East Africa since July to protect them from pirates active in the region. French military officials said over the weekend that the force fired on pirates to protect two fishing boats.