News / Africa

US, African Countries Team Up to Tackle Piracy in Gulf of Guinea

(File) A naval officer mans a machine gun boat off Nigeria's coast. Forty vessels have been attacked by armed gangs in the Gulf of Guinea this year, according to senior US military officials.
(File) A naval officer mans a machine gun boat off Nigeria's coast. Forty vessels have been attacked by armed gangs in the Gulf of Guinea this year, according to senior US military officials.
Three blocs of African countries and the United States have agreed to coordinate efforts to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.   

Forty vessels have been attacked by armed gangs in the Gulf of Guinea this year, according to senior officials of the U.S. military's Africa Command. The epicenter of West African piracy is Nigeria, with 12 attacks and multiple kidnappings this year.

Aboko Patrick, mayor of  Kombo Abedimo, a Cameroonian locality on the Bakassi peninsula, tells VOA that the government of Cameroon negotiated his release when he and some friends were captured by pirates.

"We were embarrassed with three gun boats armed to the teeth, with about 10 persons per boat," he said. "There were gun firings. Some of us fell into water and we were picked up by pirates and taken to their camp. We were given indiscriminate beatings for close to about six hours. We sustained various injuries ranging from wounds and fractures."

Philip Hey, chief of the air and maritime program of the U.S. Africa Command, says organized piracy is increasing because West African countries do not make maritime safety a priority.

"The criminals are winning. Criminals act with impunity on African waters," Hey said. "They fish illegally, they move illegal drugs, arms, weapons, they attack ships and shippings and that has a very negative impact on trade for Africa and for economic development for Africa."

Fondo Sikot, an economist at the University of Yaounde, says trade and movements have been seriously hampered by pirate activities. He gives the example of Nigeria, which produces 2 million barrels of oil per day, but where oil tankers going abroad face the constant threat of hijacking and theft.

"If the countries do not do something to stop that, it will be so difficult to ship or import anything and without the ships being able to move freely, because they are afraid of pirates, you can imagine what it means for the economy, especially small economies like ours that depend a lot on that [maritime trade]," he said.

Hey adds the current situation is causing harm to the economies of both Africa and developed countries.

"Maritime trade is a shared interest. Every country has an interest," he said. "The U.S. is interested in keeping trade going.  Cameroon is interested in keeping trade going and that is why we use that expression 'No shipping, no shopping.'"

This week's meeting in Yaounde involved senior military officers from the Economic Community of West African States, the Economic Community of Central African States, and the Gulf of Guinea commission.  The officers and the U.S. Africa Command agreed to create a regional coordination center for maritime safety and also to arm it to face growing insecurity on the Gulf of Guinea.

Cameroon Defense Minister Edgard Alain Mebe Ngo says his country already has the facilities to host the center. "It will be an institution to determine all operational and practical strategies against maritime insecurity."

The Gulf of Guinea Commission says countries on the Gulf supply around 40 percent of Europe's oil and 29 percent of petroleum products to the United States,  It says without better maritime security, the region could become another Gulf of Aden, where Somali pirates ran wild for several years before international naval patrols shut them down.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid