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Somalia asks Kenya to hand over convicted pirates

The Somali Federal Government is hoping Kenya will agree to transfer 122 convicted Somali pirates from Kenyan jails back to Somalia.

Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya, Mohammed Ali Nur, told Radio Ergo in a special interview that if an agreement is reached, over 122 convicted Somalis serving prison terms in Mombasa for piracy related offences would be repatriated to Somalia to serve out the remainder of their sentences in Somali prisons.

Some of the pirate prisoners are serving jail terms of between 5 and 20 years, the ambassador said. They are complaining of bad living conditions in the Kenyan prisons and have requested to be transferred back to Somalia. “I visited them in a Mombasa prison recently. Some of them are recovering from injuries they sustained on the high seas, others have got bullets in their bodies and need surgery, while others are suffering from illnesses like diabetes and hypertension,” the ambassador said.

He added that the Somali embassy was pushing hard to get an agreement with the Kenyan government soon. Relatives of some of the pirate prisoners had also been pressurising the embassy to speed up the process of bringing the convicts back.

Speaking about the repatriation process of Somali refugees in Kenya, meanwhile, the ambassador told Radio Ergo that negotiations were moving on smoothly and that the Somali government, in collaboration with international aid agencies, was engaged in improving social services and security in areas liberated from the Al-Shabaab militant group, before the start of any repatriation exercise.

He said thousands of Somali refugees had voluntarily returned to their country with the help of the embassy in Nairobi, which had issued travel documents for them. Many others had approached the embassy and were willing to go back home.

Source: Radio Ergo

Pirates

Youth speak on piracy in Somalia

The Somali Anti-Piracy Information Center (SAPIC) in collaboration with the Somali National Youth Council convened for a roundtable discussion where youth deliberated piracy activities and its effects on the Somali people. Discussions were facilitated by a panel of five young graduates who described piracy “as equal to on-shore robbery”. Ayan Mohamed Abdullahi from SIMAD University underlined piracy activities brought high inflation on fuel, cars, furniture and properties. “It has caused complete instability in Somalia’s economy to the extent that millions of households are unable to buy decent furniture, let alone other secondary items due to increased prices; it has further brought horrific chaos in the social lines contributing to the collapse of many established families who were perhaps well-off before piracy arrived to our country”.

Among the panel was also Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi who said anti-piracy information campaigns undertook by various local and international organizations almost over-looked the environmental pollution caused by international mafia networks on the Somali waters. “It is unfair that the international community and our own local organizations are over-emphasizing piracy activities at the expense of looming environmental challenges in Somalia; our seas are polluted, no one is talking about it, our fish are over extracted, no one is talking about it, and even with the decline in current piracy activities, we read new warships arriving Somalia to combat piracy, Why?” Yusuf asked.

During the roundtable discussion, participants unanimously agreed that piracy is evil and dangerous; evil in the sense that innocent travelers and goods were taken and never freed until ransom money is paid; it was dangerous at the same time as many young people perished in the high seas while others were jailed in various parts of the world.

Responding to questions regarding reasons for decrease in piracy over the past few years, participants believed it was due to increased information dissemination which had a significant positive change on the society in former pirate hotspots. Khalif Halane, a youth participant from Mogadishu University said “a month ago, cargo ship run short of fuel along the coast of Hobyo where residents provided the ship with free fuel. This was a generous contribution from Hobyo residents, a town once known synonymous with piracy”.

The roundtable discussion recommended that increased parental education is key for stopping potential recruits. The same was also required to rehabilitate and reintegrate former pirates into the society. The panel and participants further wanted government to take the lead in all efforts geared towards the fight against the piracy. However, Dr. Abdulaziz Dhagaqool, director of Public Relations from the department of Social Affiars at the Office of the Prime Minister said “in order for us to protect our natural resources and deny pirates to damage our reputation, young graduates should join the Somali Navy. In this way, we could protect our wealth and image legally” he added.

The event was graced by Mr. Qallocow, Deputy Minister for National Planning, Abdulaziz Dhagaqol, director of public relations and social affairs from the Office of the Prime Minister and Anab Mohamed Osoble, Secretary General for the National Women Organization. All encouraged young people to continue denouncing piracy.

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Two Kenyans held hostage after Somali pirates seize merchant ship

Two Kenyan nationals are among those held hostage after Somali pirates seized a merchant ship on Friday.

According to Andrew Mwangura who is the Secretary General of the Seafarers Union of Kenya, MV Jamila was attacked by pirates while being repaired at sea in the middle of Uarseiek and El maan 40 miles from Mogadishu. The ship was transporting timber to Mombasa.

It left Mozambique and sailed to Mogadishu from where it was to come to Mombasa on Wednesday but developed mechanical problems in the high seas.

It drifted to the south of Mogadishu on Thursday and local residents began to loot it. On Friday armed men believed to be pirates boarded and took charge of it.

The ship was attacked while enroute to Madagascar from Mozambique. Two Kenyans, the Captain and one of the engineers are among those held hostage by the militia with a score of chinese sailors but the number of crew members is yet to be known.

The number of attacks by Somali pirates dropped sharply in 2013, largely because of an international naval effort. No ships were succesfully hijacked.

Source-Standard Digital

Burcad badeed

Road building, not state building, can solve the Somali pirate problem

Anja Shortland is a Reader in Political Economy at King’s College, London. Federico Varese is a Professor of Criminology at the University of Oxford. The academic article this post is based on, “The Protector’s Choice. An Application of Protection Theory to Somali Piracy,” is forthcoming in the British Journal of Criminology, and is available here.

Even if pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia are now only sporadic, piracy is still a latent problem which inflicts high costs on international trade. The estimated cost of piracy in 2013 was somewhere between $3 and $3.2 billion. Shipping companies continue to spend huge amounts of money on safety measures and additional fuel to increase transit speed, while international navies patrol the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.

These massive costs are inflicted by an “industry” that brought an average income of around $50 million per annum to Somalia from 2008-2012. The differences between the massive costs and meager profits of piracy imply that there has to be some room for a more efficient solution than expensive sea-based deterrents. Indeed, a recently released White House plan against Somali Piracy suggests that the Obama administration is no longer willing to commit naval assets in the long run.

But what would such a solution look like? In theory, laws and rules might support a “contract out of piracy,” in which foreign nations or shippers effectively pay pirates to cease their activities. The problem is that state-building is in its infancy in Somalia. The central government has not projected power beyond Mogadishu for decades, ceding control to a plethora of traditional clan-based elites, warlords and Islamist militias who provide governance and fight over territory. Without stable law and order in the remote coastal regions, there is no-one to make sure that all parties live up to their contracts.

A simpler approach may be to look to the key underlying conditions that make piracy possible. Our previous research shows that the key ingredient to the success of Somali piracy is land-based support, which has allowed pirates to keep their ships safe and the crews alive while ransom negotiations dragged on – usually for several months, sometimes for years. Without access to land and comprehensive security guarantees for the captive ships, pirates could only extract small on-the-spot “fines.” The 2013 World Bank report on Somali piracy identified 26 anchorages in which protection was offered to pirates. In a new paper we ask why there were only 26 pirate anchorages on a coast the length of the U.S. eastern seaboard, and argue that the answer to this question provides a new solution to privacy.

Neither Somalia’s physical geography nor the degree of political stability/instability explain where pirates find anchorage. Instead the willingness of communities to host pirates depends on harsh economic calculations. Local elites across Somalia fund their activities through taxation (or extortion – depending on your point of view). Elites that tax imports and exports in their ports have no sympathy for pirates: they drive away a more profitable, more stable and less risky source of income. Few people are going to want to trade with a pirate port, for fear that their own ships and cargoes will be held to ransom. Therefore, coastal regions and ports connecting to the wider economies of the Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa have never offered protection to pirates. Indeed, they have often engaged actively in counter-piracy – for example Somaliland and the various Islamist administrations in Kismayo.

In contrast, the Puntland and Central Somali pirate coast is arid, supports only nomadic herders and has no infrastructure to integrate it with regional trade routes. This means that there aren’t many other activities for local elites to tax. It is no surprise that they welcome pirate dollars in principle. Moreover, their eagerness to support pirates depends on how much money they need. Our research shows that the number of ships held locally shot up when there were territorial disputes or when funds were needed for closely fought regional elections. Once these political aims were achieved, the pirates were asked to leave. The 2008 “pirate capital” of Eyl sent pirates packing in 2009 after the local clan’s candidate won the presidential election.

These insights provide the beginnings of a new approach to stopping piracy at its source – developing the local economies that are most prone to support piracy, because they don’t have other good economic options. You don’t necessarily need a stable political settlement for Somalia as a whole to do this. Instead, you need to build a transport infrastructure which integrates the currently remote regions into the wider regional economy. This will change the local attitude to piracy from “welcome revenue source” to “economically damaging nuisance”. There is no need for a contract or its enforcement: the choice is self-enforcing.

anti piracy ship

Chinese naval escort taskforce wraps up escort mission for WFP ship

The guided missile destroyer “Changchun” of the 17th escort taskforce of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAN) completed a successful escort mission with the “Nawa 3”, a ship belonging to the World Food Program (WFP), which reached the sea area near Somalia’s Bossaso Port on May 24 2014, carrying humanitarian relief materials.

This is the eighth occasion on which a Chinese naval escort taskforce has escorted a ship carrying humanitarian aid on behalf of the WFP. Throughout the journey the “Changchun” provided an escort to the Nawa 3, deploying its weapons to ensure the safety of the escorted ship, and guaranteeing its communications.

The Chinese Navy attended a related international conference held by the WFP in 2010, and promised to dispatch its warships to join escort missions. The participation of the Chinese Navy in these escort missions demonstrates its commitment to meeting its international obligations.

Source: peopledaily