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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid