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Monday, June 08, 2009

Somali Pirates: Picking on their neighbors

Somali pirates make bad neighbors, as presented in the Yemen Times: What you don’t know, but pirates of the Red Sea do - A journey with Yemeni fishermen to face the pirates:
Recently, Yemeni fishermen have made national and international headlines as victims of the international maritime forces, who claimed that they suspected that the Yemeni fishermen's boats belonged to pirates.

But how did Yemeni fishermen become pirates? The answer was disclosed by the fishermen themselves, who explained that many times they have been kidnapped by Somalis pirates, who use the fishing boats to attack commercial ships.

Khaled Omar, the senior assistant of the captain on a fishing boat carrying about eight fishermen, explained that pirates usually use a nine meter-long fiberglass boat.

"Each fiberglass boat carries eight pirates armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades," said Omar. "The fiberglass boats are very small compared with the ships they seize, so pirates seize the Yemeni fishing boats to use them in piracy."

According to Omar, the pirates take the Yemeni fishermen hostage, forcing them to wander the sea using their boats until they achieve their goal. The pirates then released the Yemenis after having held them captive for hours or even days.
Pirates not the only threat

Last May, local newspapers reported that six Yemeni fishermen were killed and several others injured in when two Yemeni boats were separately hit by international forces on suspicion of being pirates.

"We receive complaints from fishermen saying that they were insulted by the international forces who searched their boats, took their mobile phones and other equipment." said a source in the Yemeni coastguards. "Some of them saying that they even were beaten by these soldiers."
I wonder if any of that "other equipment" included Ak-47s, grenades, RPGs, or the like. Further, the report of 6 Yemeni fishermen being killed seems suspicious, at least to me, giving the report of one attack that allegedly killed two fishermen . . .

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