Who Are the Somali Pirates?
The AP has a long and interesting article on the background of the Somali pirates. Not surprisingly, they come from the ranks of the young, poor and unemployed, looking for a way out of despair.
Hostages say they are generally well treated, with the pirates viewing them as common men caught in a wider game: the pursuit of million-dollar ransoms from owners. Some have described the pirates slaughtering and roasting goats on board to feed them, and passing around satellite phones to let them call loved ones back home.
As for a solution, this makes sense:
All analysts agree that the best way to quash piracy off Somalia is to achieve stability onshore, where civil conflict has raged for the last 18 years.
Update below from a Kenyan newspaper:
“We can smell the cash near,” said Mr Yassin Dheere, a former fisherman who has become a wealthy financier of piracy based in the coastal village of Eyl. Shopkeeper Abdullahi Said said about 50 cars, belonging to pirates and their associates, had poured into the rocky settlement in the last few days.
“Eyl had been calm and lifeless, but now it is a city again. The population has grown and business is good,” he said. The pirates earned dozens of millions of dollars in ransoms during their unprecedented capture of 42 vessels in 2008, splashing it on wives, houses, cars and fancy goods.
Though their attack on a US-flagged freighter failed this week, yielding only the American captain as a hostage in a precarious standoff , the pirate gangs have had a run of success elsewhere.
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