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Monday, October 22, 2007

World Food Program wants naval vessels to protect food aid to Somalia

Reported here:
The UN World Food Programme on Monday renewed pleas for deployment of foreign naval vessels to protect food aid in Somali waters, a day after its chartered freighter escaped a piracy attack.

On Sunday, WFP-chartered, Comoran-flagged MV Jaikur II came under attack 60 nautical miles off the Somali port of Brava, south of Mogadishu, where it had had just unloaded 7,275 metric tons of WFP food and was sailing back to Mombasa.

The pirates fired, but the ship managed to escape.

"WFP remains extremely concerned about piracy off Somalia, particularly as it appears that as the monsoon season has ended, the pirate season has begun," WFP spokesman Peter Smerdon said in a statement.

"WFP reiterates its calls for foreign powers to send naval vessels to waters off Somalia to hunt down the pirates and protect the transport of humanitarian assistance."

"This was the third attack this year on a ship contracted to carry WFP food to Somalia," Smerdon explained.

Smerdon said arrangements were being made for a French naval vessel to escort ships carrying WFP food to Mogadishu from next month.

Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that his country was prepared to send a warship off Somalia to protect delivery of food aid to beleaguered Somalis from attacks by pirates.
As Galrahn notes in a comment below and here, NATO has a force (including USS Laboon (DDG-58)) that appears to be heading into the area.

Perhaps coincidentally.

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