News / Africa

Somali Youth Warned Not to Become Pirates

TEXT SIZE - +

Somali youth living in different parts of Nairobi are being urged not to become pirates through the work of a Kenya conference that is employing unique techiniques to prevent kids from falling prey to the lure of quick and big money on the high seas.

An on-stage drama entertains a roomful of about 300 young Somalis at this community center in Eastleigh, Nairobi. The young men and women are learning through this play and lectures about the dangers of becoming a pirate.

Abdullahi Gedi, 24, says he once thought about becoming a pirate.

“As we hear from the news that the pirates have captured a ship and therefore the ransom is, let me say $35 million,  that is a lot of money in my head. As a youth, I see getting that millions of dollars in my age. That is a long time that I am going to serve to get this amount of money, so therefore, if I join the pirates, I can get it easily,” he said.

But Gedi says he knows there is a flip-side to the supposed glamour and riches that makes piracy dangerous, unethical, and punishable by jail, maiming, or death.

Ahmed Mohamed Halane is chairman of the Somali Data Information on Piracy Organization, a Mogadishu-based anti-piracy group.  He says most of the Somali young men recruited from Kenya are taken to the coast as interpreters, because many Somali youth in Kenya are highly literate.

"From 2008, let me answer from that year," he said. "We have seen and visited the coastal villages where pirates operate and have seen five people being recruited from Kenya and being taken back to Somali coast. When I come to the last year, 2011, the number has increased. That number we have seen, and people we have met along the coast line of Somalia, have been 35 in 2011."

Conference participant Gedi describes how this is done. “Somalis are related, and therefore this thing can be airborne. If I come to you and I tell you, I have a connection of piracy, and therefore if I take you to the pirates, you will not be rejected. This is the disease we are fearing that our youth can fall in,” he said.

For 22-year-old Naima Musa, the pirates have damaged her reputation and the reputation of other ethnic Somalis living in Kenya, making it harder for them to be accepted by the wider Kenyan population.

“When you are taking a bus, they will tell you ‘Somali pirate.” When you go to schools, you are different from others. When you want to take a passport or any ID they say you are still a Somali even though you are born in this place. So I feel so bad when others tell you you are this or that,” she said.

The conference was organized by the group Youth United for Social Mobilization. Speakers included a Somali Member of Parliament and a prominent Muslim cleric.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime estimates there are 3,500 Somalis working as pirates, with an estimated 1,000 Somalis in custody for the crime of piracy in about 20 countries.

One Earth Future Foundation says that in 2011, 31 ransoms were paid to Somali pirates, totalling around $160 million. Somali pirates attacked a record 237 ships, and successfully hijacked 28 of these. The foundation says the total cost of piracy last year was almost $7 billion in security, higher insurance premiums and military operations.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid