STATUS OF SEIZED VESSELS AND CREWS IN SOMALIA, THE GULF OF ADEN AND THE INDIAN OCEAN (ecoterra - 19. December 2011)
PROTECTING AND MONITORING LIFE, BIODIVERSITY AND THE ECOSYSTEMS OF SOMALIA AND ITS SEAS SINCE 1986 - ECOTERRA Intl.
ECOTERRA Intl. and ECOP-marine serve concerning the counter-piracy issues as advocacy groups in their capacity as human rights, marine and maritime monitors as well as in co-operation with numerous other organizations, groups and individuals as information clearing-house. In difficult cases we have successfully served as mediators, helped hostages to get medical or humanitarian relief and released, assisted in negotiations and helped the families of victims. Our focus to make piracy an issue of the past is concentrating on holistic coastal development as key to uplift communities from abhorrent poverty and to secure their marine and coastal ecosystems against any harm.
Today, 19. December 2011 at 21h00 UTC, at least 26 larger plus 18 smaller foreign vessels plus one stranded barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 440 hostages or captives - including a South-African yachting couple, two (or now only one) frail elderly ladies and four aid-workers - suffer to be released.
But even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.
Having come under pressure, EU NAVFOR's operation ATALANTA felt now compelled to publish their updated piracy facts for those vessels, which EU NAVFOR admits had not been protected from pirates and were abducted. EU NAVFOR also admitted in February 2011 for the first time that actually a larger number of vessels and crews is held hostage than those listed on their file.
Since EU NAVFOR's inception at the end of 2008 the piracy off Somalia started in earnest and it has now completely escalated. Only knowledgeable analysts recognized the link.
Please see the situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011) and the CPU-ARCHIVE
ECOTERRA members can also request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor for background info.
- see also HELD HOSTAGE BY PIRATES OFF SOMALIA
and don't forget that SOMALI PIRACY IS CUT-THROAT CAPITALISM
WHAT THE NAVIES OFF SOMALIA NEVER SEE:
What Foreign Soldiers in Somalia and even their Officers Never Seem to Realize:
The Scramble For Somalia
PEACE KEEPERS OR BIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENTS ?
SG Ban Ki-Moon (UN) and President Ram Baran Yadav (Nepal) should resign and take the responsibility for now over 7,000 Haitians having been killed by an Asian Cholera strain introduced by unchecked, so-called UN Peace-Keepers from Nepal into Haiti. Ban Ki-Moon is lying when he says that it has not yet been proven scientifically. He has to take responsibility, pay financial reparations and console as well as compensate the families of those killed and those almost 500,000 infected as well as the future losses in country which has eradicated Cholera over 100 years ago - until Ban Ki-Moon sent sick biological agents from Nepal.
STILL OVER 400 SEAFARERS ARE HELD HOSTAGE IN SOMALIA !
ECOTERRA Intl. has been the first group to clearly and publicly state that the piracy phenomenon off the Somali coasts can only become an issue of the past again, if tangible and sustainable, appropriate and holistic development for the coastal communities kicks in. Solutions to piracy have to tackle the root causes: Abhorrent poverty, environmental degradation, injustice, outside interference. While still billions are spend for the navies, for the general militarization or for mercenaries or conferences, still no real and financially substantial help is coming forward to pacify and develop the coastal areas of Somalia as well as to help the Somali people and government to protect and police their own waters.
Updates and latest news on known cases of piracy - see the status section :
PIRACY ATTACK ALERT
At 0842 UTC 19 December a merchant vessel was approached by a skiff, 4 persons on board in position 12 36N 047 02E the south-west region of the IRTC. Two skiffs approached and fired upon a tanker under way. A ladder was sighted on one of the skiffs. Master made evasive manoeuvres while the armed security team fired warning shots. The skiffs slowed down and returned fire resulting in the security team responding. Later the pirates aborted the attempt and moved away.
At 0955 UTC 19 December a merchant vessel was approached by a skiff, 2 persons on board in position 12 18N 046 31E the south-west region of the IRTC.
The skiffs are reported to be blue.
14 BURMESE HOSTAGE CREW ARRIVED SAFELY HOME (ecop-marine)
The 14 Burmese crew, who had been released by the pirates holding the Prantalay fleet, finally had travel arrangements be made for them at the beginning of November. They were repatriated from Puntland region in Somalia on 11. November and have now arrived safely at their homes. This was also confirmed by the owners of the Prantalay fleet.
Their vessel, the FV PRANTALAY 12, was the last of the three vessels left in Somalia, but got stranded at the beach and the crew was held hostage on land. For lack of money to feed the initially 18 survivors the pirates let the 14 Burmese go and handed them to local elders, without a ransom having been paid.
For the last three surviving crew members - all Thai nationals - a fresh attempt has been made to free them. They are still held hostage on land near Dinowda at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean Coast of Somalia.
The gang demands still for a ransom to release the four Thai seafarers: Mr. Channarong Nawara - Captain - 58 years, Mr. Ton Wiyasing - Chief Officer - 35 years, Mr. Kosol Duangmakerd - Chief Engineer - 43 years and Mr. Tanakon Keokumkong - Oiler - 33 years, but reportedly Chief Officer Ton Wiyangsing died in captivity on 18. November 2011. Though this could so far not independently be confirmed, it could be true, because several reports received earlier from the crew spoke of Mr. Ton having become very ill, which was also reported to the Thai diplomatic mission.
Unfortunately no real attempt has been made by the company to free the remaining Thai hostages.
CHARCOAL DHOW ABDUCTED By Abdullahi Issa
Officially not yet confirmed reports from Kismayo in Southern Somalia say that one of three illegally operating cargo-dhows collecting the contraband for customers in the United Arab Emirates has been abducted with 12 Indian nationals on board.
The seized vessel is apparently belonging to an Indian company, which regularly circumvents the embargo set by the Indian government while cross-flagging the vessel with an UAE and a Somali flag.
It is not clear yet if the case is a business dispute or if pirates want to use the vessel for further missions.
Vessel and crew are missing and wanted.
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What you always wanted to know about piracy, but never dared to ask:
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Year 2011, pivotal in Somali Piracy history By Voytenko Mikhail (MaritimeBulletin)
Any given problem is a problem for some, and business for others, for those who vow to solve the problem, and those who find other ways to profit from problem. There is the whole industry consisting of people and structures, who make problems their business, here and there we find among them think-tanks and UN officials, politicians and insurers. Some people consider my piracy investigations as some kind of “conspiracy theory”, which fact for me personally, is a very good example of public behaviour in general, of how easily public may be duped and mislead. My investigations are based on open figures and facts, and on my own rather deep understanding of shipping and piracy. I can make much more thorough investigations, but I don’t have a staff of “fellow-researchers” and funds, what I do I do in my free time. Nevertheless, unlike think-tanks like most notorious one, “Oceans beyond Piracy”, I don’t turn dhows into super tankers in full load and make the equal in cost, I don’t count ransoms as “paid” for vessels released by Navies, I don’t fantasize on losses suffered by world economy through piracy, my figures and estimations are much more plausible than those given by officialdom, they may be checked and re-checked, using open sources.
The year 2011 seems to become a pivotal year in Somali piracy history, in full accordance with what officialdom and personally, Mr. Mitropoulos, promised to us, but in opposite sense. The dramatic fall in hijacks is contributed to the massive use of private armed guards, which roughly, begins in spring, and UN, a number of nations, IMO, Round Table and the ITF have nothing to do with it. On the contrary, they did and still do everything possible to stop or to limit the use of private guards, because the success of private guards puts them into very awkward, even dangerous situation.
This investigation is an attempt to understand and evaluate the Somali Piracy evolution during the year 2011.
Please read the full report at:
Trends and prognosis
Somali pirates keep going on with disappointing their conscious or unconscious supporters in this pivotal year 2011, which may end up with record low number of hijacks. There are some other reasons for recent pirates failures, besides massive use of armed guards, but still, armed guards play the decisive role in dramatic reduce of the hijacks. The navies weren’t able to conceal their anxiety and disappointment, out of, at least, decency, and openly demonstrated their hostility against armed guards, flatly refusing any cooperation with the private sector. MO are doing their best to make private security as much complicated and entangled in legal and insurance regulations and obstacles business, as possible, with the enthusiastic help of The Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI) and Lloyd’s insurers.
Recently started some rather strange military operations in Somali, carried out by outside military, like Kenyan or Ethiopian, can’t destroy piracy, unless the operations will result in a constant occupation of Somali coast, or at least piracy key points, including their Puntland dens, which seems to be highly unlikely. Without occupation, military may disrupt piracy for some time, but not destroy it. Piracy infrastructure is primeval, only Somalia Report and the likes may believe in multimillion expenses pirates suffer while holding vessels in their captivity, implying infrastructure is so intricate and modern it requires multimillion budget.
Still, massive use of armed guards won’t be all-embracing, I estimate that at least 25-30% of all vessels plying dangerous areas are defenceless, and this figure won’t be less in near future. Some of the vessels don’t need armed guards, those with a freeboard 8 meters and more, or those with speed exceeding 18 knots, such vessels proved themselves to be impregnable for pirates. But mostly, defenceless vessels have a misfortune to be operated by too greedy or too careless owners, and such vessels will be the main, if not the only one, prey for pirates, now and in foreseen future. Pirates lack the decisive knowledge, what vessels are armed and what not, and use rather blunt tactics, attacking everything they spot, with the hope of finding a “right” vessel. I’d say, now they really need intelligence so many “experts” were babbling about for years. They’ll find the solution, I’m afraid. They don’t need intelligence network in major ports around the world, intelligence may be obtained in much easier and cheaper way, but I’d better not go into details.
Rounding it all up, I suppose Somali piracy won’t disappear in a foreseen future, unless of course, some radical changes will take place in Somali. Pirates will be able to hijack a number of vessels, maybe not enough to satisfy their inflated by media and MO appetite, but enough to keep piracy running, and to provide MO, Navies and UN with pretext to go on with “Fighting the Piracy” fraud. Putting aside a possibility of some radical changes in Somali, we’re left in a different from the past situation. Most vulnerable to hijack vessels, presently, seem to be the ones belonging to small comparatively poor ship owners, unwilling or incapable of hiring armed guards, and naturally, such vessels are aged and cheap. But pirates, being restricted in their ability to hijack any vessel they find as it was in the past, already demand unreasonably high ransoms, regardless of vessel’s true value and owner’s financial situation. The lesser is the number of the captured vessels, the more are the pirates’ demands, notwithstanding the absurdity of their demands. If an owner tried to save some fifty thousand dollars on armed guards and left his vessel defenceless, we can hardly expect him to be generous with multimillion ransom, he’d better declare himself bankrupt and abandon vessel and crew, as it already happened in at least three cases. That puts the crews of the hijacked and will-be-hijacked vessels in a very hard and risky situation, threatening them with lengthy captivity and a possibility of not being released at all.
Are there other options of eliminating piracy threat except the restoration of law and order in Somali? I see only one option, a full-scale media scandal, revealing the true role of UN, MO, navies, politicians and insurers in the existence and evolution of Somali piracy. Without it, everything will go on as it goes now. Strange or no strange, but Somali piracy has two centers, one is Somali itself, another on is London.
London’s leading role is a natural one, as “the whole piracy issue is uniquely British,” said Peter Dobbs, head of Catlin’s Asset Protection service. “The majority of the insurers involved are British, the majority of the law firms are British, the majority of the better guarding firms are British, and the majority of the ransom delivery firms are English. Piracy is very much an insurance issue that’s centered in London, as opposed to anywhere else in the world. London is where it’s at, and where piracy has been a concern for three hundred years from the age of privateers in the 1700′s.”
Let’s appreciate some figures. Pirates “income” is some $80 million annually. It may be even $100 million, even more than that, but it’s peanuts, if to compare their income with London’s income. First to profit are insurers – absolutely unexplained and unsounded racket in form of war-risk cover nets some $500,000 daily (assuming average war-risk insurance cost is $8,000 per vessel, with some 60-70 vessels with London-originated insurance transiting dangerous waters daily). Negotiators market is occupied by British law and insurance companies, as the market of ransom delivery, which taken together, brings to London some $35-40 million annually. And now a new flow of income already floods London, the income of private armed guards. Assuming not less than the third of all transiting vessels hire armed guards with average $60,000 per transit, it gives us some $3,5 million daily. SAMI said recently, that 52% of the private guard market is occupied by SAMI members, and that in near future instead of dozens or hundreds security agencies providing armed protection in Indian ocean, only 7-8 will be left. The number of protected vessels will grow, there is still a lot of room, if we assume that not less than 100 vessels per day will have armed guards on board, it will give us some $6 million daily, with at least half of it pocketed by London.
Let’s look at diagrams comparing volumes of every day average income of Somali and London; of pirates, insurers and private security. I didn’t include incomes of maritime organizations, IMO and UN, of “think-tanks”, of Navies increased budgets.
Four factors are decisive in Somali piracy foreseeing future.
1. Continuing anarchy and chaos in Somali.
2. Profits piracy brings to insurers, private security sector and those who “fight” the piracy, especially UN.
3. Irresponsible and superficial coverage of the piracy problem by world major and industry media.
4. Total absence of any form of protests from seafarers and ship owners.
5. The ongoing strategy of “Fighting the piracy”, instead of “Protecting from piracy”, while actually, military protection must be made not just available, but compulsory.
As long as military protection is absent, pirates will always find their prey, because many owners don’t practice armed guards, mainly because of financial considerations.
Can we change it?
The world shipping as a community of seafarers and shipowners, may change the situation radically, if it will voice its’ protest against all interested in piracy continuance parties, and demand general acceptance of a new stance on a piracy problem. From my point of view, the demand, or declaration if you like, should include the following issues:
1. Internationally recognized and accepted change of the strategy of “Fighting the piracy” with “Protecting from piracy”;
2. Establishing multinational military force for providing each passing dangerous waters vessel with military team, in the only way acceptable for shipping – i.e. vessels don’t have to wait for schedules or convoys, they close Point A for boarding teams, and Point B for disembarking, without wasting as much as an hour. Until then, Navies of each nation presented in Indian ocean
must change their tactics from convoy or patrolling to providing with their military teams as many vessels, as they can handle;
3. Navies must host private their national private security teams on board of their ships, until the time when international military force would be able to provide protection for each passing vessel;
4. All the related to Somali piracy activities of the London’s P&I Clubs and War-Zone Committee must be thoroughly scrutinized. Military, legal and financial aspects of the war-risk premiums must be thoroughly evaluated, with resulting conclusion, whether war-risk premiums are legal or not;
5. All the related to Somali piracy activities of the UN, IMO, International Maritime Bureau, Round Table and ITF must be thoroughly scrutinized to appreciate the character and feasibility of “Fighting the piracy” strategy. If the strategy will be found wrong and false, as it seems to be now, then, all those executives who personally attribute to the acceptance and pursuance of the strategy in question must be hold responsible;
6. A special fund must be established – Victims of Piracy (VIP) Fund, with two main objectives: monetary compensation to all the seafarers who underwent piracy captivity, and assistance to present and future victims, including shipowners. Monetary compensation is to be recognized as a symbol of national and international community’s responsibility for failing to protect shipping, it must be a substantial one-time payment to each victim, with the starting sum of $50,000 and up, depending on the time of the captivity of person to be compensated. All the funds, which are already allocated to “prosecuting the pirates” cause, to wasteful and utterly useless conferences and campaigns like “Safe our Seafarers”, must be re-located to VIP Fund, and if UN and related organizations want to go on with prosecuting pirates and holding conferences, let them find the financing elsewhere. Seafarers are to be declared the priority, not the pirates or “fighters’.
PIRACY COURT CASE OBSERVERS ASK WHEN FINALLY THE ACTIONS OF THE U.S.AMERICAN "NEGOTIATOR" AS WELL AS THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE NAVY SHIP, LEADING TO THE SHOOTING FRENZY ON BOARD THE YACHT, WILL BE QUESTIONED
A press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office was not as clear about Abdilai's role in the attack. The Associated Press reported that he "was a former electrician ... [who] never carried a weapon ... it was his job to use his psychic abilities to guide their boat."
“As Somali pirates expand their territory, they place more individuals’ lives at risk,” U.S. Attorney MacBride said in a statement. “These men willingly joined this group of pirates out of greed, knowing full well that their actions could—and did— lead to the death of their hostages. They will spend their lives in prison for what they willingly chose to do and the lifetime of suffering and pain they thrust on the victims’ loved ones.”
Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali, a/k/a Sanadaaq, 32, and Jilani Abdiali, a/k/a Ilkasse, 20, both of Somalia, were sentenced today in Norfolk federal court to life in prison for their acts of piracy against theS/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of United States citizens Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay, and Robert Campbell Riggle.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after the men were sentenced by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.
Ali pled guilty to piracy under the law of nations and hostage taking resulting in death on May 23, 2011. Abdiali pled guilty to piracy under the law of nations on May 20, 2011.
“As Somali pirates expand their territory, they place more individuals’ lives at risk,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “These men willingly joined this group of pirates out of greed, knowing full well that their actions could—and did—lead to the death of their hostages. They will spend their lives in prison for what they willingly chose to do and the lifetime of suffering and pain they thrust on the victims’ loved ones.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated: “Piracy in its modern form is carjacking at sea. It is not glamorous; it is violent and often murderous. The crew of the Quest did nothing to antagonize their captors. They were a target of opportunity. The FBI is committed to stopping crime on the high seas.”
Ali admitted in court that he was the commander of the pirate ship when it left Somalia. They seized theQuest about 840 miles out of Somalia, and he transferred the pirates and a number of weapons over to the Quest via a skiff. He carried an AK-47, which he used for guard duty over the hostages, and he ordered a co-defendant to fire an RPG toward the Navy vessel while the Navy was attempting to secure the hostages’ release through negotiations with the conspirators. In his plea, he warranted that he did not personally shoot or order the shooting of the four Americans. He received two concurrent terms of life in prison today.
Abdiali admitted that he willingly engaged in piracy for financial gain and participated in the pirating of the Quest and the taking of the four Americans on board as hostages. He warranted in his plea agreement that he did not personally shoot any of the Americans, nor did he instruct any other person to shoot the hostages.
The investigation of the case is being conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The prosecution in the Eastern District of Virginia is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin L. Hatch, Joseph DePadilla and Brian J. Samuels, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Paul Casey from the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
Galmudug Security Forces to Begin Anti-Piracy Operation in Galka'yo (ShabelleMediaNetwork)
The security forces of Somalia's regional Galmudug state are set to conduct counter-piracy operations in parts of the divided fragile town of Galkayo.
Abshir Dini Awale, the interior and security affairs minister, told the media reporters that his administration will redouble and step up operations against Somali pirate save heavens in the region.
The minister noted that most of the operation will be done in Galka'yo and its surroundings under the control of Galmudug state, especially in the northern part where few days ago many school children were abducted by the Somali pirates. The abducted local students were expected on Friday to be handed over to their parents after talks with the pirates. One boy from a family involved in a dispute over piracy money was meanwhile released.
Using information from intelligence sources, Galmudug state security forces will begin search and seize operations in parts of Galka'yo, particularly the city's southern neighbourhoods.
Musicians rally to help pirate hostages By Rizwana Sheik Umar (IOL)
South African Music Award (Sama) nominee John Ellis, Durban singer/songwriter and guitarist Rowan Stuart, international recording artist Toni Rowland and other local acts are expected to wow crowds at Zack’s at Wilson’s Wharf at Durban’s Waterfront on Sunday at 7pm in aid of the Bruno and Debbie Fund.
The man at the centre of this event is Durban’s Steve Fataar. “I just couldn’t imagine what it must be like to be in their shoes… this family is going through a particularly tough time and I thought that we should do something to help,” Fataar said.
Apart from the music on offer at the free event, there will be plenty of opportunities to win prizes, including a two-night getaway for two.
In August the families of Bruno Pelizzari and Debbie Calitz, the couple who have been held hostage by Somali pirates for more than a year, set up a trust fund to raise the $4m ransom (R33.5 million) for their release.
Pelizzari and Calitz were working aboard the SY Choizil, which was taken by pirates on October 26, 2010, as it was about to enter the Madagascar/Mozambique Channel.
In September this year the families launched an SMS line to help raise the money. Print media and the radio have helped create awareness about the Bruno and Debbie Fund, said Bruno’s sister, Vera Hecht.
“Since we ran adverts in the newspapers we have had a good response from the public. One lady, who wished to remain anonymous, said she told her loved ones not to spoil her this Christmas, but rather contribute to the fund. She donated R2 000,” Hecht said.
“We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed to bringing my brother and Debbie back home. Thank you so much,” she said. Vera said so far she has raised more than R200 000.
Three months have passed since the Somali pirates hijacked a chemical-oil tanker with 21 Indian sailors including two Keralites on board. It has been three months since Jalaja, mother of Thalikkulam native Rohit who is one among captives, has slept peacefully.
“Does it really take this much time for the authorities to free my son? When he spoke to me in November 1, he said the ship was running short of food, drinking water and oil. Would he be getting food now?” asked a distraught Jalaja, whimpering in between. Sachin, Rohit’s elder brother, has returned to Thalikulam from abroad to look after mother.
“The ship management officials say they are in constant touch with the pirates and that negotiations for ransom money are on. They also say all sailors are safe inside the ship. However, when I spoke to Rohit last time, he said the captain and the chief engineer were being tortured by the pirates,” said Sachin.
The Fairchem Bogey, managed by the Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, was hijacked on August 20 while being anchored in Salalah port. The vessel was being loaded with methanol when it was seized. The pirates boarded the vessel while it was two miles off the coast of Oman, awaiting a berth, and commandeered it towards Somalia.
Fed up with waiting, relatives of the hijacked sailors held a protest in front of the office of the company in Mumbai for a week from November 3. “The management then assured us of taking necessary steps to get the sailors released as soon as possible. In the first a few days leaders of all political parties, including defence minister A K Antony, chief minister Oommen Chandy, MLAs and MPs contacted us and assured of any kind of help. But their promises proved futile. We are tired, but are yet hopeful,” said Sachin.
At the same time, Muhammad Nanki from Mogral of Kasargod district, the other Keralite aboard the hijacked ship, called up his family last week over a satellite phone and informed about the shortage of food and drinking water. He also told his family that power and oil in the ship were almost over and that it had been days since they took bath.
“The family members of each sailor are in constant touch to get the latest information from the ship. We hope the delay would not cost us the life of Rohit,” hoped Sachin.
Twenty-six-year-old Rohit joined the crew as electrical officer on March 27. It was only his second sailing with the company. Rohit first contacted family on August 22, two days after the ship was hijacked. The youngest in the family, Rohit is unmarried. He entered the marine field in 2008.
55-year-old Muhammed Nanki is the chief cook of the vessel. Muhammed entered the marine field in three decades back. Muhammed is married and has two children. He contacted the family on November 22 and informed of shortage of food, drinking water and oil in the ship.
NOW THE SOMALI GOVERNMENT HAS TO COME CLEAR, WHO AND WHICH FOREIGN FORCES HAVE BEEN OR WILL BE AUTHORIZED TO DO WHAT EXACTLY IN THE SOMALI WATERS AND TERRITORY (AND WHICH OPERATION AS SUCH HAS BEEN DULY ENDORSED BY THE SOMALI PARLIAMENT AND THEREBY THE PEOPLE OF SOMALIA)
UNSC Extends Authorization to Use "All Necessary Means"
to Combat Piracy in Cooperation with the TFG (UN)
Condemning and deploring all acts of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in the waters off the coast of Somalia, the Security Council on November 22 extended for 12 months its authorizations granted to States and regional organizations cooperating with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in the fight against such acts.
The authorizations are set out in paragraph 10 of Security Council resolution 1846 (2008) and paragraph 6 of Council resolution 1851 (2008), and contain the authorization for States and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali Transitional Federal Government to enter Somalia's territorial waters and use "all necessary means" - such as deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, as well as seizing and disposing of boats, vessels, arms and related equipment used for piracy. (See also Press Releases SC/9514, SC/9799 and SC/10092)
Unanimously adopting resolution 2020 (2011) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council stressed the need for the international community to tackle piracy and its underlying causes - including the ongoing instability in Somalia - in a comprehensive response. It noted again with concern that escalating ransom payments and the lack of enforcement of the arms embargo established by resolution 733 (1992) were fuelling the growth of piracy in the area and called upon all States to fully cooperate with the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group regarding possible arms embargo violations.
The Council renewed its call upon States and regional organizations that had the capacity to do so to take part in the fight against piracy by deploying naval vessels, arms and military aircraft, and through seizures and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment used in the commission of piracy, or for which there were reasonable grounds for suspecting such use.
In a further provision, the Council called on Member States to assist Somalia, at the request of the Transitional Federal Government, in strengthening capacity in the country, including regional authorities, to bring to justice those involved in piracy who were using Somali territory for planning or undertaking their criminal acts. It called upon all States to cooperate in determining jurisdiction and in the investigation and prosecution of all persons responsible for acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia, as well as to criminalize piracy under their domestic law.
[N.B.: The decision was made in just 3 minutes: The report states: "This meeting, which began at 10:12 a.m., was adjourned at 10:15 a.m."]
The 10th Plenary Session of the CGPCS Ends with Fruitful Discussions (CGPCS)
On November 17, 2011, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) held its 10th Plenary Meeting under the chairmanship of the Netherlands. The CGPCS participants gathered to check on the international coordination efforts undertaken after the Plenary Session in July 2011 and to discuss future steps to be taken to tackle the menace of piracy.
Among various discussions, the Contact Group highlighted the matter of bringing pirates to justice by reconfirming the persisting need to facilitate criminal investigation and prosecution of apprehended pirates as a top priority.
The Group welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution 2015 (2011), in which the UN Security Council renewed calls on the establishment of specialized anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other States in the region. Also, the CGPCS appreciated the efforts of Somalia, the Seychelles and Kenya and other countries among the region in undertaking prosecutions and detaining convicted pirates.
Stressing the need of increase in the number of piracy prosecutions, the CGPCS noted that prosecutions encompass pirate leaders, financiers and organizers. In line with such viewpoint, the Contact Group concluded that the definition of piracy under international law may comprise pirate leaders, financiers, and organizers operating ashore.
An upcoming chairmanship change in Working Group 3 (Self Protection of Commercial Vessels) was also announced in this Plenary Session by the United States and the Republic of Korea. From March 2012, the Republic of Korea will chair the WG3, which had been chaired by the U.S. from the establishment of the Contact Group in January 2009.
The Eleventh Plenary Session is to be held under the chairmanship of the United Arab Emirates in March 2012.
For a full sketch of the discussions from the Tenth CGPCS Plenary Session, please refer to the official Communique available for download HERE.
At an anti-piracy conference in India, international stakeholders have called for a strategic consensus to boost maritime security as pirates off the coast of Somalia get bolder.
The pirates of Somalia, who operate primarily in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Guinea, the Malacca Straits and the Indian Ocean, are getting bolder and more brazen.
Emboldened by the absence of an effective ruling authority, piracy has become a highly-organized criminal business. Many of the pirates are former clan fighters who have discovered a far more lucrative form of armed capitalism.
At the weekend, delegates at a conference on ‘Global Maritime Security & Anti-Piracy,’ the first to be held in India, called for close cooperation between like-minded nations to eliminate piracy at its root.
The conference took place in the coastal state of Gujarat, which contributes 25 percent of India’s maritime trade that makes up 1.5 percent of the global total.
Massive economic disruption
Since 90 percent of global trade is carried by sea, piracy that occurs in vulnerable sea lanes of strategic importance, is a severed cause of economic disruption.
It can also be an environmental hazard because ships might be damaged or purposely run aground, said Jaanus Rahumagi, who runs a security agency in Estonia that equips commercial vessels with weapons. “Innocent mariners from countries around the world have been endangered,” he also pointed out.
Over 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil supply that passes through the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea is at risk from Somali pirates.
According to Rahmumagi and other delegates, the problem has worsened considerably in recent years. There have been some 400 attacks worldwide and 40 commercial vessels have been hijacked. Currently 11 vessels and almost 200 hostages are being held by pirates, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Last year, ransoms paid climbed to 238 million US dollars (an average of 5.4 million per ship) compared with 150,000 in 2005.
A recent study conducted by the One Earth Future Foundation estimated the total annual cost of maritime hijackings to be somewhere between seven and 12 billion US dollars.
Difficult to coordinate regional response
The 500-mile long Malacca Strait, which is the world’s longest strait and the main seaway connecting the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, is particularly vulnerable to pirate attacks. Some 600 vessels transit the strait every day and are often attacked. However, the lack of security organizations makes it difficult to introduce effective anti-piracy measures.
“Establishing a regional response to piracy will not be easy. ASEAN and its security arm, the ASEAN Regional Forum, continue to struggle with questions of legal jurisdiction, internal and economic stability and regional balance of power,” said maritime lawyer Deepankar Sharma.
Justiice Duncan Gaswaga from the Seychelles said there had to be effective deterrence measures: “Pirates who are captured must be prosecuted. The issue of jurisdiction to try pirates assumes importance.”
Not all the delegates were pessimistic about the future. Ebyan Mohamed Salah, Somalia’s ambassador to India, claimed the world would be free of Somali pirates by the middle of next year because her government had prepared a master plan to disarm the “sea gangs.”
Somalia’s pirates are on pace for another record year in 2011, with 199 attacks as of October versus 126 over the same period in 2010. And unfortunately, modern piracy, thought to have been successfully contained elsewhere in recent years, is not a phenomenon confined to Somali privateers in the Gulf of Aden. Global piracy is back in a big way.
West African pirates are a bit more traditional than their Somali counterparts — they tend to go after a ship’s cargo rather than kidnapping for ransom money. Sailors have been tied up, beaten with rifle butts, and whipped with electrical cables. In some cases, entire crews have been shot. Whereas Somalia’s piracy is often seen as a function of the country’s on-land instability, the same can hardly be said of Ghana, one of Africa’s most stable and peaceful democracies, with a projected growth rate of 13.5 percent in 2011. It’s thought that the region’s oil boom is proving a draw for modern-day pirates.
And it’s not just Africa. Indonesia’s International Chamber of Commerce reported this year that pirate attacks are at their highest level since 2007. Even Peru, where piracy is virtually unheard of, saw an attack this year on a Japanese fishing trawler by a gang of criminals calling itself the “pirates of the sea.” Overall, the first nine months of this year saw 352 attacks — a record level. In the past two years, the United States, Europe, and even China have launched military initiatives to battle piracy. But as the numbers show, the potential riches of high-seas crime make it very hard to stop the rise of new-age buccaneers.
The Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) has begun a month-long naval exercise codenamed ‘Asad Al Bahr’ (Sea Lion) in Omani territorial waters.
Taking part in the drill together with the RNO fleets are the Sultan of Oman Artillery (RAO), Royal Air Force of Oman and Royal Yachts, as well as officers from Royal Guard of Oman, Royal Oman Police and Sultan Special Forces.
Due to the sultanate’s “strategic location overseeing one of the most important waterways in the world (the Strait of Hormuz), the building of the RNO came to fulfil an active role in the Omani waters so as to safeguard the national strategic, security and national interests”, he added.
A mysterious Iranian ship, anchored for close to 30 days near Lakshadweep, has become a major cause of concerns for the government and coastal security agencies.
The ship has been anchored there for over a month and so far Iran has given no explanation to Indian authorities in this regard. The Iranian Ambassador to India was summoned last week and explicitly told that the vessel MV Assa needs to be shifted from its current location as the country faces grave terrorist threats from the sea.
The authorities also told the Iranian Ambassador that a ship armed with machine guns cannot be allowed to halt in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for an indefinite period.
To counter India’s objections, Iran says that it cannot object to its ship, which is standing in its EEZ. It claimed that India’s territorial waters end at 12 nautical miles, beyond which lies the EEZ up to 200 nautical miles. A country has exclusive right to resources in its EEZ, but cannot interfere with commercial ships in this zone, Iran says.
The Iranian side also reportedly told the authorities that the vessel has been armed to thwart any attack from pirates. However, the government says that the EEZ is clear of pirates.
Another area of concern for the coastal security agencies is the unclear status of several boats, which regularly visit MV Assa, drop cargo and return. Iran has been maintain a stoic silence on the issue and it later claimed that the vessel was headed to Singapore.
Contrary to it, the crew claimed they were going to Colombo, then China. However, the ship has not moved an inch since then.
India cannot press for answers as rules of the sea allow complete freedom of navigation within a country’s EEZ.
MV Assa is believed to be owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), and is an entity under US sanctions.
Operating at the cutting edge of technology, the S-100 successfully completed a series of flights and trials onboard the L’Adroit OPV at the beginning of November, under the command and control of the French Navy. The L’Adroit is believed to be the first ship ever to be specifically designed to operate Unmanned Vehicles and has been fitted out to operate the maritime proven CAMCOPTER S-100. Thanks to its modular system architecture, the unmanned helicopter could be easily managed.
“With the unmanned airborne system it is possible to gather information without tiring the crew and without exposing the crew towards an enemy and / or bacteriological and / or chemical hazards or also to act as communication relay.” said DCNS OPV Manager Mr. Denis Menage.
During the four days of operation in the Bay of Biscay, the CAMCOPTER carried out eleven flights and 89 deck landings using a harpoon developed by Schiebel. As part of the trials, the S-100 used its electro-optical and infrared sensors to identify exercise potential threats such as small boats. It was shown that the UAS significantly increases the capability of the ship and the missions conducted during the trials demonstrated its high potential for surveillance, harbour and costal patrol, environmental protection, intelligence gathering, drug interdiction, anti-piracy tasks, as well as supporting search & rescue operations.
“This versatile and very capable UAV can fly a complex mission as planned, without any direct interaction from the operator it is fully automatic. It s positioning systems (a combination of GPS and inertial measurement) guarantee precise navigation and stability, necessary conditions for the accurate landing on a moving platform at sea, a naval spokesman supplemented.
We believe that embarking a tactical rotary UAS such as the CAMCOPTER S-100 onboard such a ship will provide a step-change in its surveillance and reconnaissance capability in the future. The missions conducted during these trials aptly illustrate this enormous potential. Given the fact that many Navies seem to be focusing more on procuring smaller ships for future operations, coupled with the fact that indigenous manned helicopters are often too expensive, opens the door for UAS, such as the S-100. This potential capability gap in terms of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is where the S-100 fits in. commented Neil Hunter, Sales Director for Schiebel and retired Naval Commander.
THE CAMCOPTER S-100
Schiebel s CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a proven capability for military and civilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area, supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea. The S-100 navigates via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or is operated with a Pilot Control Unit. Missions are planned and controlled via simple point-and-click graphical user interface and high definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real-time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the AV can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft and, in the standard configuration, carries a 75 lbs/34kg payload for over 6 hours.
Founded in 1951, the Vienna-based Schiebel Group of companies focuses on the development, testing and production of state-of-the-art mine detection equipment and the revolutionary CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS). Schiebel has built an international reputation for producing quality defense and humanitarian products, which are backed by exceptional after-sales service and support. Since 2010 Schiebel offers the new division composite and is able to supply high-tech customers with this high-quality carbon fiber technology. All products are quality-controlled to meet ISO 9001 standards. With headquarters in Vienna (Austria), Schiebel now maintains production facilities in Wiener Neustadt (Austria), and Abu Dhabi (UAE), as well as offices in Washington DC (USA), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).
Britain will seek to build consensus on measures to tackle instability and piracy in Somalia, such as improved humanitarian aid and economic support, when it hosts a major international conference next February.
“Now is the time, we believe, to seek intensified international action on Somalia,” Hague told parliament. “That country is a scene of great human suffering, but is also a base of piracy and terrorism, which exacerbate the country’s plight and threaten our own security.”
A fleet of foreign naval vessels patrols strategic sea lanes off Somalia, where pirates prey on commercial vessels and private yachts and hold them for ransom.
Cameron announced last month that British merchant ships sailing off the coast of Somalia would be able to carry armed guards to ward off pirate attacks, bringing it into line with many other countries.
The prime minister has described the east African nation as a “failed state that directly threatens British interests,” citing attacks on tourists and aid workers, and radicalisation of young Britons by militant Islamists with roots in the region.
Hague told parliament on Monday that tens of thousands of Somalis had died in recent months, while a million were internally displaced and faced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
He called for a wide-ranging approach to undermine al Shabaab rebels and tackle piracy, coupled with economic support, humanitarian aid and assistance to the African Union mission in Somalia, AMISOM.
“The aim of our conference in London in February will be to build agreement on such a reinforced international approach,” he said.
The high-level conference is expected to gather regional players, as well as representatives from the United States and other countries, a government source said.
Somalia was formed in 1960 from a former British protectorate and an Italian colony. It descended into chaos after the 1991 fall of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. The government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed holds sway in the capital Mogadishu, but al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels control much of the rest of the country.
Cleveland law profs help track pirates (WKSU)
Two Cleveland law professors are helping the Seychelles Islands set up courts to go after Somali pirates.Milena Sterio of Cleveland Marshall School of Law and Michael Scharf of Case Western Reserve University spent last week in the Seychelles, where captured pirates have been taken. Scharf is chairing the working group that includes scholars and legal practitioners from around the world.
From the SMCM (Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor): (and with a view on news of events with an impact on Somalia)
Peace cannot be kept by force.
It can only be achieved by understanding.
— Albert Einstein
Articles below were vetted and basically found to report correctly - or otherwise are commented.
NO TO UN-TRUSTEESHIP OVER SOMALIA AND NO TO AU AND IGAD MILITARIZATION
NO foreign or local military governance on land or foreign naval governance on the Somali seas.
NO to any threat infringing on the sovereignty of Somalia, especially concerning the 200nm territorial waters, given since 1972, and the 200nm EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone / UNCLOS) already in place since 1989 as well as the 350nm continental shelf zone.
NO to any Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in relief food or Genetically Engineered (GE) seed supplies.
Mahiga is a Liability for Somalis By Ali A. Fatah (RadioWidhWidh)
Augustine Mahiga’s initial appointment as the UN Secretary’s General special envoy to Somalia was a bad omen for the troubled country. Because as an undistinguished diplomat, ………….
who in all probability came to his office through tribal considerations, he lacked the qualifications and temperament to decode, much less untangle Somalia’s knotty political situation; a muddle that confounded better mortals during the past two decades.
Now he has become dangerous. His recent call for the recognition of the one clan enclave calling itself Somaliland is a diplomatic blunder of unimaginable proportion. And for that he needs to be stopped before he inflicts further incalculable damage to Somalia’s fledgling state.
Consider the statement of one of his few Somali admirers, Mr. Mohamud Ciilmooge, who for reasons only known to him and perhaps Mahiga, thinks that the wily envoy is performing magically. In an energetic, if vacuous defense of the UN agent, he stated that Mahiga is working hard to revive Somalis’ sense of nationhood, apparently by double-dealing; telling each faction and political hack what they want to hear. This is a clear admission by the supporter that the Tanzanian envoy’s mission, rather than helping resolve Somalia’s political issues of contention, is actively undermining the very essence of her nationhood.
Does that make Mahiga a political soldier of fortune or a Trojan horse in the service of high-level geopolitical schemes above and beyond his pay grade, the gravity of which he probably does not fully grasp? That May very well be the case. But it really does not matter. He is a clear and present danger on his own accord. He has after all made a colossal mischaracterization of the political situation as it relates to northern Somalia. It concerns his announcement to the world that in his opinion the secession project based in Hargeisa merits international support; to make such a statement that is grossly inimical to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country he supposed help restore to peace and unity is simply a criminal act against Somalia.
Mr. Mohamud Ciilmooge kept repeating how good Mahiga was for Somalia, but he could not produce anything that can be vaguely construed as real achievement. Instead, he revealed the man’s treachery, where Mahiga is trying his level best to stymie Somalis’ sense of nationhood. Yet the supporter had the temerity to put that forward as a successful feat.
Not only that, he mentioned two other equally bizarre claims to buttress his oft repeated, gratuitous praise of the failed UN envoy. They are:
Finally, if the TFG was up to doing a halfway decent job, the fumbling Mahiga, with his countless misfeasance and ineffectual tenure, would have been removed many months ago. But that would have been asking for a minor miracle from a do-nothing crowd of self-aggrandizing politicos.
So the situation concerning Mahiga has reached a critical point of no return. The leaders of the TGI can no longer feign ignorance or keep looking the other way as the country is humiliated by the likes of Mahiga—a third rate diplomatic hand. The time for them to face reality is therefore now! They should at once ask the UN Secretary General, Mr. Moon to remove the failed envoy away from Somalia before he inflicts further damage. They will have no problem making the case regarding how, A) Mahiga has overstepped the scope of his mandate, and B) Has been double-dealing by saying something to Somalis for peace and national unity and supporting secessionists to appease fellow travelers. Whether he took bribes and other inducement from the one clan enclave headquartered in Hargeisa or he is a hired diplomatic mercenary is immaterial at this point in time. He has crossed a line and for that he needs to leave the scene forthwith.
(*) Author Ali A. Fatah can be reached via E-Mail: email@example.com
THE UN IS PART AND PARCEL OF THE QUAGMIRE IN SOMALIA AND THEY FEAR NOW THAT THEIR STOOGES ARE KICKED ASIDE ONE BY ONE BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE. UNPOS OPS MOTTO: BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, FOR THEY MAKE EASY TARGETS!
Somalia: UN and partners urge leaders to end stand-off over Speaker (UNpressrelease)
“We appeal for moderation to the leadership of the Transitional Federal Institutions, parliamentarians and to all stakeholders [to] … avoid any statement or action that could exacerbate the already tense situation and further aggravate the crisis,” said a statement by the delegation.
The joint mission that travelled to Somalia to meet with the country’s leadership on Saturday, comprised We appeal for moderation to the leadership of the Transitional Federal Institutions, parliamentarians and to all stakeholders [to] … avoid any statement or action that could exacerbate the already tense situation and further aggravate the crisis.Christian Manahl, the UN Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia; Boubacar Diarra, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union; and Kipruto arap Kirwa, the facilitator for Somalia for the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
It conveyed the serious concern of the international community over the political crisis to the leaders, stressing that the stalemate could have an adverse impact on the implementation of the roadmap to restore peace and stability in Somalia, which has lacked a fully-functioning government and been wracked by factional warfare since 1991.
The delegation reiterated the determination of the international community to act against political moves aimed at derailing the peace process.
It urged Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to act in the spirit of the Kampala Accord, the pact signed in the in the Ugandan capital in June under which the terms of the President and the Speaker were extended for a year, ending an impasse over the transition period.
“We acknowledge the wish of the parliamentarians to discuss the Roadmap in the TFP [Transitional Federal Parliament], following their previous endorsement of the Kampala Accord, and the intention of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to present the Roadmap to the TFP for deliberation and approval; we acknowledge that this should happen as soon as the present crisis is resolved,” the mission said.
Members of the delegation encouraged continued consultations among Somalia’s top leadership to resolve the current crisis in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter and previous political agreements.
In a related development, the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) today announced that a three-day high-level Conference on the Constitution will take place in the city of Garowe in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland beginning on Wednesday. The decision was made following consultations with the TFIs, according to the UNPOS press release.
Somalia's al-Shabab launches 'Twitter war' )
Al-Shabab is estimated to have up to 9,000 fighters
Somalia's militant Islamist group al-Shabab has launched an account on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
The feed has attracted dozens of followers since it was created on Wednesday.
The account might be an attempt by al-Shabab to counter Kenya's military spokesman, Maj Emmanuel Chirchir, who regularly tweets about operations in Somalia.
Kenya sent troops into Somalia in October to fight the militants.
Its parliament voted on Wednesday to integrate the troops into the 9,000-strong African Union (AU) force backing Somalia's weak interim government.
Al-Shabab - which means The Youth in Arabic - controls most of southern and central Somalia.
The first al-Shabab tweet was a koranic phrase in Arabic, meaning "In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful".
After that, al-Shabab switched to English and got down to the serious business of military propaganda.
The first tweets gave a hint of what was, within a few hours, to become the most intense fighting for several months between the Islamists and government troops backed by African Union (AU) troops in the capital, Mogadishu.
The tweets spoke of an attack by al-Shabab on an AU base in the north of the city.
This was despite the fact that al-Shabab in August announced that it had withdrawn from Mogadishu - something the transitional government described as a massive victory.
The tweets then launched into what the group described as the utter failure of Kenya's military intervention in Somalia.
One quoted the BBC story about the plan for Kenyan troops to join the AU force.
It said this was proof that Kenya had run out of money to pay for the military operation, so it now needed the AU to pay for it.
The advice to the Kenyan soldiers was put into one word, in capital letters - "FLEE".
There was also a tweet referring to the need for Somali government soldiers to sober up, accusing them of being intoxicated by the narcotic leaf, khat, which has been banned by al-Shabab.
The al-Shabab Twitter site has attracted dozens of followers since it was launched a few hours ago. At the time of writing, al-Shabab is following nobody.
The Islamist movement has in recent months become increasingly adept at communicating its activities and messages to a non-Somali audience.
It writes sophisticated press releases in excellent English, complete with photographs.
And now it has a Twitter account. Perhaps this is in response to the highly active Twitter account of Kenya's military spokesman.
He issues a steady stream of information about what he says are Kenya's military successes in Somalia.
So far, he appears to be winning the Twitter war. He has nearly 10,000 followers.
Al-Shabab has 400, but its site has only been active for a few hours, and that number increases every time I look at it.
Somalia’s maimed ‘other’ boys struggle to make a new life (TorontoStar)
Abdulqadir Abdi Dilahow, 23 and Ali Mohamed Gedi, 21, are now in Eastleigh, a neighbourhood in Nairobi, where they fled to from Somalia after Al Shabab publicly amputated their right hands and left feet in 2009 in a display meant to intimidate their fellow citizens.
Ali makes lunch, Abdulqadir dinner.
It is not much of a life, especially for Ali, who struggles to walk with a crutch and a cane since his leg was amputated. It’s a task made more difficult as he is also missing his right hand.
But it’s a better life than the one they escaped in Mogadishu, where they feared that Al Shabab, the militant Islamic group that robbed them of the life they once knew, would find them again and rob them of life altogether.
Ali Mohamed Gedi, 21 and Abdulqadir Abdi Dilahow, 23, are what some Somali-Canadians call the “other” boys.
In June 2009, they were kidnapped by Shabab members and dragged to a stadium along with two other young men. One by one, each had a hand and then a foot severed for refusing to join the militant group. The gruesome public amputation was intended as a warning to others of what would happen if you defied the Shabab.
Six months after the barbaric ritual, the Toronto Star featured the story of 17-year-old Ismail Khalif Abdulle, the youngest of those boys.
His plight touched Star readers. In September 2010, with the help of a former Somali-Canadian journalist living in Nairobi, Ismail escaped to Kenya. A couple of months later Norway accepted him as a refugee in need of immediate protection.
In January, Ismail flew with the Star to Harstad, a Norwegian town 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, where he now attends school, has his own apartment and receives medical care.
Ali, Abdulqadir and a third young man, believed to have escaped to Djibouti, were left behind.
Last month the pair agreed to come out of hiding in the chaotic Eastleigh suburb of Nairobi, whose residents are mainly Somali, to talk about their own escape and the challenges ahead. If there’s any jealousy about Ismail’s fate as compared to their own, they didn’t show it.
“We are so happy for what happened with Ismail,” says Ali, declining a cup of tea at the meeting with the Star. (He is fasting to try to make his prayers better heard.) “That really showed that the world cared about us.”
A group of activists in Toronto’s Somali community helped these “other” boys escape to Nairobi and are now trying to find them a permanent home.
“I hope they will also get a new chance elsewhere,” said one community leader, asking to remain anonymous.
Ali and Abdulqadir have applied to the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, but the list is long. Somalia is in the grips of famine, and warring between Shabab fighters and combined forces from Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Uganda has sent refugees fleeing from southern Somalia. Many end up in Kenya.
When the Star met Ali he said his dream is simple: he wants a prosthetic leg. (He fled Somalia before he could receive one there.) Those who know him say he remains haunted by the public amputation and needs psychological counselling.
Both Ali and Abdulqadir’s eyes fill with tears when asked if they have difficulty sleeping since that day of horror.
“Forget nightmares,” says Ali. “We can’t even have knives in our kitchen.”
They use their teeth to cut vegetables or prepare food, they say.
A week after the Star met the pair in Eastleigh, Ali left for Mombasa on Kenya’s coast. He told Abdulqadir he was going to meet friends and relatives. But soon after, he called the Star and others in Toronto from Mombasa’s Shimo La Tewa prison.
Ali said authorities picked him up because he was not carrying proper identification after Kenya went on high alert after the Shabab issued warnings of retaliatory attacks.
Others in jail, taking pity on him, helped him raise part of the bail set by the court; Toronto’s Somali community sent him the rest this weekend.
“We, as Somalis in the diaspora, have the responsibility to rehabilitate and save lives,” said the community leader in Toronto. “We’ve lost an entire generation.”
- FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD (with an influence on Somalia and the water wars) :
"We're fighting terrorists, pirates, and militias. What happened to the days when we fought uniformed armies?"
SEE ALL THE ARTICLES BELOW LIKE A PICTURE, A COLLAGE AND LET THE MAIN COLOUR SINK IN. THEN LISTEN TO THE FINE TUNES AND DETAILS AND COME TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSION. WE TRY TO BALANCE THE FALSE PICTURE IMPLANTED INTO YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS BY THE MAINSTREAM'S RULERS - THE POWERS THAT BE. .- / .- / .- .- .=
NUMBERS AND NAMES OF KENYANS KILLED, MAIMED, WOUNDED OR MISSING IN KENYA'S ILL-ADVISED JUBALAND ADVENTURE IS TREATED LIKE A STATE-SECRET.
Kenyan Policeman Killed In Explosion At Dadaab Refugee Camp (RTTNews)
One Kenyan policeman was killed and two others injured in an explosion suspected to have been caused by a roadside bomb at the Dadaab refugee camp near the border with Somalia, news reports citing local officials said Monday.
The explosion reportedly struck a police vehicle inside the refugee camp, killing the driver instantly. The other two injured in the incident were Kenyan police officers who were inside the targeted vehicle.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, Kenyan officials blame the Somalia-based al-Shabaab Islamist insurgent group for the attack. They believe the militants who detonated the bomb had entered the camp disguised as refugees.
The Dadaab refugee camp is said to be the biggest of its kind in the world, housing an estimated 450,000 people who have fled the ongoing famine and the continued conflict in Somalia. The UN say's the region is currently witnessing the world's worst humanitarian situation.
Somalia is currently facing its worst drought in more than six decades. Although some regions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda have also been hit by drought, the situation in southern Somalia is compounded by Islamist insurgency and acute poverty.
Al-Shabaab is Somalia's most prominent and influential Islamist militant unit and is branded a terrorist organization by the United States and most of the international community. The outfit is the military wing of the Islamist movement ousted by Ethiopia-backed Somali forces in 2006.
Hundreds of Kenyan troops are currently in Somalia as part of a cross-border operation aimed at driving the al-Shabaab militants away from the border separating the two nations, following a wave of abductions along the border.
The Kenyan incursion is also part of a cross-border search for four kidnapped Europeans, including two humanitarian aid workers, believed to have been taken to Somalia by their captors. One of them subsequently died in captivity. Kenyan officials blame al-Shabaab militants for the kidnappings.
However, the Islamist group denies any involvement in the recent abductions in Kenya and has threatened to respond to the Kenyan incursion by launching suicide attacks in Kenya like the 2010 Ugandan suicide bombings that killed 76 people and left dozens injured. The group has already carried out several bombings in Kenya.
The Kenyan parliament recently voted to allow the country's troops to join African Union's ongoing UN-mandated military mission in Somalia aimed at providing military support to the UN-backed interim Somali government against the Islamist militants.
Military Action Was Planned for Years, Say U.S. Cables (TheNation)
In January last year, a team of senior Kenya government officials met their US counterparts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to lobby for international support for their solution to the Somalia problem.
The "Jubaland Initiative" as the secret plan it was dubbed, proposed the creation of a separate state in southern Somalia called Jubaland to cut off the Al-Shabaab from Kenya.
Citing increased threats to national security posed by Al-Shabaab, the Kenyan delegation led by Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang'ula said the initiative was necessary to secure Kenya's borders.
They made a passionate appeal for US "understanding and support."
Occurring on the margins of an African Union summit, the meeting also featured the then Chief of General Staff Gen Jeremiah Kianga, Defence minister Yusuf Haji and the director of National Security Intelligence Service Maj-Gen Michael Gichang'i.
The Addis forum was just one in a number of meetings held between high-ranking Kenyan and US officials in the campaign to enlist US support for the initiative.
Faced with US scepticism, the Kenyan delegation said the Jubaland Initiative was in fact the idea of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
A lot of lobbying went on and, nearly two years later Kenyan Defence Forces rolled into southern Somalia for their first ever foreign military operation much to the enthusiasm of the local population and utter dismay of the international community.
Details about the lobbying are contained in diplomatic cables released by the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks early this year.
The cables reveal how Kenya engaged the US in a tussle of wills for more than two years in its determination to militarily neutralise Al-Shabaab's threat, resulting in the launch of Operation Linda Nchi on October 6 this year.
The cables also say the military action took years of planning and was not a spontaneous reaction to abductions conducted by the Islamist group on Kenyan soil as repeatedly stated by government officials.
The abductions seemed to provide Kenya with a convenient excuse to launch the plan which, officials argued, was necessary to ensure protection against threats posed by an unstable neighbour.
The cables indicate that the operation enjoyed unqualified support from both sides of the grand coalition government. President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga were firmly behind it.
One of the cables indicates that Mr Wetang'ula informed US Ambassador for African Affairs Johnnie Carson that the planning committee was working from Mr Odinga's office.
"The Kenyan effort was being coordinated by a team based in Prime Minister Odinga's office, Wetang'ula said, but the Prime Minister and President Kibaki co-chair the effort in order to make it truly bipartisan," reads part of the cable.
Kenyan officials enumerated the problems caused by Al-Shabaab insurgency: refugee influx into Kenya, radicalisation of the Kenyan youth, proliferation of small arms, and distortion of market prices as result of piracy money flowing into the Kenyan economy.
"Saitoti also noted that Somali piracy has hurt Kenya. He claimed proceeds from ransoms paid to Somali pirate syndicates are being used to purchase expensive commercial and residential properties in Kenya at inflated prices, thus affecting the Kenyan economy by distorting the real estate market.
"In addition, quantities of small arms and light weapons from Somalia are entering the black market in Kenya," reads part of one cable.
The strategy devised by security officials was rather easy: enter southern Somalia, drive away Al-Shabaab, create a buffer zone to allow the fledgling Transitional Federal Government to take control and increase its capacity to retain it.
Key to the success of this operation was reclaiming the port of Kismayu, which was the main source of funds for the insurgents, according to Director of Military Intelligence Brig Philip Kameru.
Brig Kameru's observations in regard to Al-Shabaab threat would prove quite prophetic.
In a cable dated August 2, 2010, he told the visiting US ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin that Al-Shabaab was about to begin deadly incursions into Kenyan territory. (read:US embassy warns on Kenya attack)
"He added that the DMI expects Al-Shabaab to begin cross-border incursions into Kenya and he claimed to have received reports indicating Al-Shabaab has plans to use improvised explosive devices and landmines against security personnel and civilian traffic inside Kenya.
"Kameru said there are other reports of Al-Shabaab stockpiling weapons in border regions," reads the cable.
Why We Should Tread Carefully In Somalia By Hassan Ole Naad (TheStar)
A couple of days ago, the insurgent Somalia militia group, al Shabaab, issued a rather curious statement captured on a BBC news channel. In the statement, al Shabaab made a rare call to the Somali people to unite and protect their country from foreign invasion. The militant group was attempting to appeal to Somali nationalism, asking all Somalis to resist Kenya’s ongoing military campaign.
For a group that has bragged about its military capabilities to deal with any foreign army that ‘invades’ Somalia, calling upon all Somali people to unite against ‘foreign invasion’ was almost a show of desperation in the face of the well-equipped and highly professional Kenya Defence Forces. But the call is also a demonstration of something else – a change of tactics on the part of the al Shabaab. It wants to whip up the emotions of all Somalis against the Kenyan campaign.
If al Shabaab succeeds in portraying the Kenyan army as ‘invading crusaders’ and wins the sympathy of the Somalis, then Kenya’s campaign against the militants could face serious challenges because the support the Kenyan soldiers are getting from the Somalia Transitional Federal Government will not be guaranteed. Kenya should think seriously about this as it pushes on with its military strategy. The Somali people have the unique ability to shift loyalties quickly by forgetting their numerous differences to unite against a common “external enemy.”
It looks like al Shabaab want to resort to a propaganda war by taking advantage of this character of the Somali people to turn the tables against the Kenyan military campaign. If this propaganda strategy bears fruit for al Shabaab, then Kenya’s first foreign military intervention might end like previous interventions in Somalia by the United States and Ethiopia.
Remember that the current al Shabaab and TFG top leaderships were previously comrades in arms under the Islamic Courts Union deposed by the Ethiopians in 2006. When push comes to shove, it may be very easy for al Shabaab to convince the TFG to unite against Kenyan forces. This is why Kenyan political and diplomatic authorities should get their priorities right for as long as their military remains in Somalia. The moment the Somali people believe that Kenya has ulterior motives, the population will withdraw its support for the war against al Shabaab.
Somalia people distrust neighbouring countries. As a former chief of the Somalia Appeals Court, Ahmed Sheikh Ali, puts it, “the neighbouring countries themselves create the distrust the Somali people have against them.”
In view of this delicate diplomatic scenario as the KDF prepares for a major offensive against al Shabaab, the military campaign in Somalia will probably take longer than anticipated. In Eldoret last week, President Kibaki, the Commander-in-Chief, said the KDF will remain in Somalia until the job is done. The same message was sent by the Chief of Defence Force, Gen Julius Karangi, who said, “we will remain there (Somalia) until we feel safe.”
The military campaign in Somalia will therefore spill over to next year, when Kenyans are expected to conduct the first general election under the new constitution. Will the war interfere with the election? If not, does Kenya have the economic resources and presence of mind to conduct war and elections at the same time? Haven’t we bitten more than we can chew and swallow? What, if any, are the cost benefits of the military campaign in Somalia at this time when the Kenyan economy is limping?
These questions are legitimate because Kenyans want to be assured that nothing will stand in the way of the reform agenda that kicked off after the historic promulgation of the new constitution on August 27, 2010. It is important that the country’s leadership seeks the support of the international community to enable it to conduct the war while proceeding with the reform agenda domestically.
So far, the diplomatic engagements seeking international support are commendable. But the government must remember that different international players have different interests in Somalia – their support has strings attached. Those doing shuttle diplomacy seeking support for Kenya’s military campaign in Somalia should ensure that those offering support are singing from the same hymn book as we are.
The African Union, the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference must be consulted effectively to ensure that the support Kenya gets does not end up creating a platform for hidden interests to fight a proxy war in Somalia. As the campaign against al Shabaab intensifies, Kenyan authorities should consult widely to answer the following questions.
The Somali clan differences are very complex, how do we deal with them? We may succeed in pacifying or routing the al Shabaab, but who fills the vacuum left by al Shabaab? What lessons can we learn from the Ethiopians when they succeeded in getting rid of the Islamic Courts Union only for the latter to be replaced by a more determined military offshoot? Are we sincere and clear about our objectives in Somalia? Is our military campaign designed to unite the entire Somalia or merely create a semi-autonomous enclave for Somali clans that we favour? And will this campaign guarantee Kenya’s safety?
The writer is the CEO of the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance and Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.
Kenya troops to 'join Somalia's African Union force' (BBC)