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Somali Pirate Town Lures Fortune Hunters

From Sky News:

Somali pirates holding the merchant vessel, MV Faina

Pirate Town Lures Fortune-Hunters

Thursday November 20, 2008

Alistair Bunkall, Sky News reporter

In a country ridden by poverty, the town of Eyl sticks out for its prosperity.

It sits in the tribal region of Puntland on the eastern coast of Somalia and is virtually inaccessible by road. As an analyst put it to me: “Eyl is one of the most desolate parts, of one of the world’s most desolate countries.”

So volatile is the security situation in Somalia, that few aid agencies still operate in the country and only a handful of journalists have visited Puntland in the past year. One of those, I’m told, needed a constant armed guard of at least 10 men wherever he went.

But under the condition of anonymity, one local agreed to speak to Sky News Online from his home in Somalia.

“The roads are some of the worst in the world,” he said. “The nearest road to Eyl is hundreds of miles away and it isn’t what you’d call a road by western standards.

“Some of the landscape in the area is beautiful though, there are some amazing beaches, but it’s really ragged. And that gives natural protection to the pirates.”

Every time a captured ship is steered into port, Eyl comes to life. The town is built around piracy, and new restaurants have been opened to cook food for the 220 or so hostages being held.

Lawyers, computer experts, and other suited men arrive to broker deals with the captors. English, Swahili and Arabic is spoken, to communicate and bargain in this business that stretches further than Somalia’s shores.

“Young men drive round in smart jeeps, big new villas are being built, it’s really very, very different from anywhere else in the country,” one resident said. “The idea of piracy is an attractive one to young Somalis with little prospects. It’s an aspiration.”

Roger Middleton, an African analyst at Chatham House in London, put it in more perspective. “The average income in Somalia is around $650 a year, but a low level pirate can earn up to $10,000 per raid,” he explained.

“A man I’ve been in contact with made $5,000 just for going on board a ship and acting as a translator. That’s considerably more than he can expect to earn as a teacher.”

But the attitude towards the pirates is changing in Somalia. Originally, sea raids were regarded as the right response to global attacks on Somali resources. But now the population is becoming a victim because close to half the population is dependent on aid – and this is being targeted by the pirates.

The events of the past few days have brought Eyl into international focus, but the town is sophisticated and always prepared for attack.

The wealth gained from piracy has transformed Eyl into the envy of a country in dire need of aid. The capture of the Sirius Star demonstrates that the lure of piracy is growing.

Hey, there is one place in the world that is prospering.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, November 20th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

16 Responses to “Somali Pirate Town Lures Fortune Hunters”

  1. proreason says:

    “In a country ridden by poverty….”

    In that case, whatever they do is ok. And of course, it’s our fault for being so insensitive for so long.

  2. GuppyNblue says:

    I like the Russian plan to destroy their bases of operation. Trying to hunt them down at sea could take forever. But what will probably happen is an annual UN aid package. Whatever happened to “crime doesn’t pay”?

  3. DGA says:

    These are NOT ‘pirates’, as the media would love you to think, sort of like bucanneers, parrots on shoulders, etc, these are terrorists, pure and simple and need to be treated as such. A decent airstrike should deal with them, and might begin to make up for the Somalian debacle that clinton ran from years ago. Maybe we could hope for Pres. Bush to deal with this as a parting gift to the world?

  4. 1sttofight says:

    Time to give the A-10’s a little workout.

    http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/195016.php

  5. DEZ says:

    “The wealth gained from piracy has transformed Eyl into the envy of a country in dire need of aid.”

    They are not in need of aid, They are in dire need of building an economy.
    We could dump 10 billion dollars a day into their rat infested hole for a thousand years, and they would still have their hands out.
    Maybe I am just sick and tired of watching people looking for a freebee, maybe I am sick and tired of jerks asking me to open my wallet for people to lazy to ever build an infrastructure.
    Some civilizations are destined to fail, and some sure as hell deserve it.

  6. pinandpuller says:

    Build them a Wal Mart and give them a place to sit in front with their clever cardboard signs and sooner or later they will die of cirrhosis of the liver.

  7. imnewatthis says:

    I have to say I agree with DEZ. I have heard of very little good coming from Africa (one exception-priests who are now helping the shortage in our country-and I thank God for their calling and thank them for coming here to help us-but I digress…). Murder of people who belong to different tribes , ethnic groups, and religions; “female circumcision”; online schemes to defraud people; children given weapons and made to use them; men who are promiscuous and force their wives to have unprotected sex with them. Barack Obama thinks Africa is so wonderful and our money is going to go into that black hole. I sometimes give money to charities that help Africa (and other places) like Mercy Ships and Catholic Relief Servies, but I like to decide when and how much, and I think we need to concentrate on our own problems and debt more than other countries.

  8. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    Why not just set up convoy escorts as was done in WWII? The cargo gets through safely and the cooperating naval forces get some gunnery practice. It’s a win-win.

  9. JohnMG says:

    I prefer decoy-ships. Begin setting up ambushes but don’t acknowledge any activities associated with them. These fools will leave for “work” some morning and never be heard from again, and nobody’d have a clue as to what happened to them.

  10. Chinnubie says:

    I’m torn about the whole pirate thing because I like to see entrepreneurial spirit wherever it happens to take hold. Although the forcing of others to pay for cargo does cross the line I suppose, but the owners keep on paying so why do we care? I get the whole it’s not right thing and pricing of these commodities will increase, but tell me, WHO’s gonna do anything about it???

  11. sheehanjihad says:

    WHO’s gonna do anything about it???

    The United Nations, that’s who!! They just voted to place “sanctions” on the pirates! You read that right, freaking “sanctions”! Oooooooooooooh! That’s so harsh and scary, isnt it?

    I bet the pirates are all running as fast as they can because the UN put those naughty “sanctions” on them! Yeah, that’s gonna make them take notice of the UN’s warning against piracy! You bet!

    Sanctions? On pirates? That’s kind of like placing sanctions on bank robbers instead of arresting them and putting them in prison.

    What a useless weak and totally ineffective bunch of idiots. Sanctions…yeah, that’s so brutal.

  12. Grassy Knoll says:

    I’m surprised that share-the-wealth Liberals (Don’t call them Socialists) are not pointing to this and claiming that this is the type of pure Capitalism that Conservatives would like to see.

  13. Helena says:

    How is this activity any different from Jackson or Sharpton “discovering” (read – manufacturing) a company has a “policy of discrimination” and demanding millions of dollars as a payoff or they’ll start a boycott? How is it any different from the gay shakedown mentioned here at S&L of the company in California that gave money to Prop 8 threatening a boycott of that company until the company paid “an equal amount” – actually $10,000 more – to gay causes? The only difference is that there are guns involved and the piracy crosses international boundaries. They need to have Jesse Jackson go over there and give them a master class on the finer points of the shakedown. The money he’s extorted makes their hauls look like chicken feed. I’d like to see some UN sanctions against piracy here.

    And as for the share-the-wealth liberals, they should be delighted that the Somalis are engaging in sponanteous grassroots “wealth-redistribution.”

  14. Liberals Demise says:

    Helena:
    There is a difference between the pirates of Samolia and Jesse, Al and the gays…….the pirates don’t have access to a Health Care program yet!!
    You think they might be up for a union to be their Overlord?

  15. Helena says:

    LD – Yes, indeedy. This is definitely an opportunity for some enterprising, young (say 47) community organizer. Let’s send him over right now.

  16. RightWinger says:

    That’s how they excuse Nigerian Advance Fee Fraud (aka: 419 crimes)

    “Young men drive round in smart jeeps, big new villas are being built, it’s really very, very different from anywhere else in the country,” one resident said. “The idea of piracy is an attractive one to young Somalis with little prospects. It’s an aspiration.”

    Roger Middleton, an African analyst at Chatham House in London, put it in more perspective. “The average income in Somalia is around $650 a year, but a low level pirate can earn up to $10,000 per raid,” he explained.”

    Do a little rewording and it’s the same thing.

    “Young men drive round in BMWs, lots of bling hanging from their necks, it’s really very, very different from anywhere else in the country,” one resident said. “The idea of internet scamming is an attractive one to young Nigerians with little prospects. It’s an aspiration.”

    Usman Bello, an African analyst at Chatham House in London, put it in more perspective. “The average income in Nigeria is around $650 a year, but a low level scammer can earn up to $5,000 per successful scam,” he explained.”

    When Obama can give away billions of our dollars to places like this that propser on crime, you’ll see how he changes the world! LMAO.


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