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Don’t pay pirates: Somalian envoy

The Somalian Ambassador to India Ebyan Mahamed Salah on Saturday said the “simplest and least costly way to stop piracy is to stop paying ransoms”.

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The Somalian Ambassador to India Ebyan Mahamed Salah on Saturday said the “simplest and least costly way to stop piracy is to stop paying ransoms”.

She said peace in the troubled country would mark the end of piracy in the Gulf of Aden,calculated as costing businesses and governments globally up to US $ 7.5 billion per year.

Salah also said the Somali government was going to organise an anti-piracy conference in Dubai soon,in which one of the main topics would be how to track ‘hawala’ routes used by pirates to channel ransom money,which might be used by the Al-Shabab,the Islamist militant group that has occupied Mogadishu,the country’s capital,for about two decades in various forms — as war lords and fundamental groupings.

The Somali government started a dialogue with the Ministry of External Affairs so that the scores of Somali pirates caught drifting into India’s waters be handed over to them,she said.

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The Somali government is planning an anti-piracy legislation to put in place by May 18,2012,so it can prosecute and convict pirates lawfully. At present. the country has no such law,she added.

Speaking at an international anti-piracy conference on Saturday,Ambassador Salah said,“Somalia is slowly returning to normalcy after decades of insurgency. The African Union forces have already evicted Al-Shabab militants from Mogadishu,she said.

Pleading for international help in post-insurgency Somalia,Salah identified Somalian pirates as young men from the pastoral communities of the country’s interior as well as urban educated youth who remain unemployed. She said these persons must be educated and prevented from becoming pirates.

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“Ransom money makes Somalian pirates more greedy,and leads to more daring crimes for bigger gains,” she added.

In June,there were two groups of Somalians,caught drifting towards the Gujarat coast,one group of 17,including 3 Yemenis caught near Junagadh and another of 21 caught near Dwarka. They were suspected to be pirates. The would be repatriated soon,the Ambassador said.

Salah’s contention came even as a top European Union official reiterated “the need for international cooperation despite arguments that we should withdraw the warships” at the same conference.

First published on: 27-11-2011 at 05:03 IST
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