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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Somali Pirates: UN Chief Says Piracy Will Continue Until Somalia Is Fixed

Reported here:
Despite the launch of "one of the largest anti-piracy flotillas in modern history," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that what he terms the "clan-organized taking of vessels off the coast of Somalia" will only cease when order is restored to that country.

"There is a critical need to tackle the problem of piracy with a multifaceted approach" to ensure that the political process, the peacekeeping efforts of the African Union (AU) and the strengthening of institutions work in tandem, Mr. Ban writes to the Security Council in a report released today.
That report is available here in pdf format. The report sets out the conditions of Somali piracy:
5. It is reported that the most prominent pirate militias today have their roots in
the fishing communities of the Somali coast, especially in north-eastern and central
Somalia, and that their organization reflects Somali clan-based social structures.
There are two main piracy networks in Somalia: one in “Puntland” and the other
based in the southern Mudug region. It is also reported that in “Puntland”, the most
important pirate group is located in the Eyl district, with other smaller groups
operating from Bossaso, Qandala, Caluula, Bargaal and Garacad. By the end of
2008, the “Eyl Group” was holding hostage six vessels and their crew and was
expected to have earned approximately $30 million in ransom payments. The
“Mudug piracy network” operates from Xarardheere. It was this group that held the
MV Faina, together with three other ships, for a period of approximately five
months from September 2008 to February 2009. It is widely acknowledged that
some of these groups now rival established Somali authorities in terms of their
military capabilities and resource bases.
6. The NATO Shipping Centre cites four main areas from which current piracy
operations are conducted:
(a) For ships seized in the Gulf of Aden, the Aluula Pirate Refuge Port is
sometimes the first port of call for pirates, as a base for re-supply before carrying on
to main pirate home port bases in Eyl, Hobyo and Xarardheere. This is also one of
the few coastal villages with a usable flat dirt airstrip;
(b) The Gulf of Aden and Mogadishu pirate attack zones are served by
“mother ships” based in Bossaso and Mogadishu, and in Al Mukallah and Al Shishr
in Yemen;
(c) Ships hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are anchored near
Eyl and Hobyo, where on-shore support networks supply pirates and hostages with
food and supplies pending ransom payments and release;
(d) The Xarardheere Pirate base, largely under the control of the
Suleiman/Habar clan, is also linked to piratical acts in this region.
7. There are increasing reports of complicity by members of the Somali region of
“Puntland” administration in piracy activities. However, it is encouraging to note
that both the former and the current leadership of “Puntland” appear to be taking a
more robust approach in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the
coast of Somalia. In December 2008, the former leader of “Puntland”, Adde Musa,
informed the Monitoring Group on Somalia that he had sacked several officials for
their involvement in piracy. In September and October 2008, “Puntland” security
forces conducted at least two operations to free hijacked ships. On 8 January 2009,
it was reported that Abdurahman Mohamed Faroole, leader of the region of
“Puntland”, declared the fight against piracy off the coast of “Puntland” a top
priority for his administration.
Latest NATO piracy status report from here to 19 March 09:As shown, several ships and crews are still being held by pirates. Click to enlarge.

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