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Sunday, May 02, 2010

Somali Insurgent Group Seizes Pirate Area

Reported by the VOA as Somali Insurgent Group Seizes Pirate Stronghold:
The Somali insurgent group Hizbul Islam has seized control of Harardheere, a pirate stronghold on Somalia's eastern coast.

Witnesses say insurgents driving at least 10 armed vehicles entered Harardheere without a fight Sunday, after pirates fled the town.

Men who describe themselves as pirates say Hizbul Islam sent agents to the town on Friday, demanding a cut of the pirates' business.

They say pirate leaders had ignored the request, prompting Hizbul Islam to send in its fighters.

There was no immediate word on the fate of hijacked ships that had been anchored off Harardheere.

Somali pirates have made tens of millions of dollars seizing ships for ransom over the last few years. The pirates are currently believed to be holding 24 ships in all, with about 400 crew members.

Some of the ships are anchored off Hobyo, another pirate haven to the north. Witnesses say pirates from Harardheere may have fled there ahead of the Hizbul takeover.
It will be interesting to see how much of the pirate "home port" is driven by clan affiliation...and whether the Haradheere pirates will be welcomed in Hobyo - and who and how the ships anchored off Hobyo will be sustained with food, water and guards.

Some of you might recall an inter-pirate battle from the past.

UPDATE: In the top map, the yellow arrow points toward Hobyo and the red arrow to Harardheere.

5 comments:

  1. D. E. Reddick5:44 PM

    Eagle1,

    I posted this VOA report along with four others in the Breaking News section of New Wars a short while ago. The second report I placed there was from an apparent Somali reporter and it took a different view of what had happened or what was occurring. Anyhow, I think reading that sample of reports does raise some questions about what exactly may be occurring, especially with regard to that poor kidnapped British couple (who've been held hostage since last year).

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  2. Anonymous6:53 PM

    So, Hizbul Islam has seized control of Harardheere
    but
    how long can they hold it? The pirates melted away into the population and will bide their time.

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  3. D. E. Reddick7:03 PM

    Anonymous,

    Nope, the pirates reportedly fled north in their luxury sedans and SUVs. They've likely fled up the coast to Hobyo.

    Two more news reports, one from the Somali news agency Garowe Online and the the second from the Christian Science Monitor:

    Garowe Online: Islamist militia seize pirate haven in central Somalia
    2 May 2, 2010 - 1:25:45 PM

    Hundreds of fighters from Somalia’s militant group Hizbul Islam on Sunday moved into the strategic northern pirate lair of Haradhere and captured without a fight, forcing pirates to flee with their hostages to neighboring districts.

    http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Islamist_militia_seize_pirate_haven_in_central_Somalia.shtml

    The Christian Science Monitor: Islamists seize main port used by Somali pirates

    Militants from the Hizbul Islam group – a hard-line rival to Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab militia – have seized the main port used by Somali pirates. What will happen to the more than 300 foreign hostages held for ransom by the pirates?

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2010/0502/Islamists-seize-main-port-used-by-Somali-pirates

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  4. Anonymous9:08 PM

    So far, most of the reports have quoted the same few sources. Given the volume of misinformation that emerges from Somalia, I'd be hesitant to believe it straight away.

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  5. In a perfect world, both of these despicable groups would declare all-out war on each other and continue fighting until they were all dead.
    Maybe then the poor natives of this area would have at least a small chance of a decent life.

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