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Monday, April 17, 2006

US to help curb Somali pirates

BBC reports BBC NEWS US to help tackle Somali pirates:
US Navy vessels have been granted permission to patrol Somali waters to fight piracy in what are seen as the world's most dangerous waters.
Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi told ministers he agreed the deal on Sunday with the US ambassador to Kenya.

Under the agreement, Mr Ghedi said the US Navy would also develop Somalia's rudimentary coastguard service.

The US Navy has recently seized pirates in international waters but has been unable to pursue them close to shore.

Hijackings and piracy off have surged in the past year as armed groups take advantage of a lack of law and order in Somalia, which has been without an effective central government since 1991.

Mr Ghedi is part of a transitional administration which only controls parts of the country.
In November last year, Somalia's transitional government signed a two-year contract with US company Topcat Marine Security to help fight piracy.

The BBC's Hassan Barise in Somalia says that despite the $50m contract there has been no evidence of patrols or interceptions made by the American firm.

The piracy deal would be the first official US military involvement in Somalia since US troops were killed in Mogadishu in 1993.

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