News / Africa

Somali Youth Warned Not to Become Pirates

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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid