Somalia's new government says it would
be able to deal decisively with the piracy problems off its shores if the
international community would provide logistical support and supervision to its
navy. This comes after Somali pirates defied
international naval powers and are holding hostage the capital of an American
ship on a lifeboat in the Indian Ocean. The pirates
tried to hijack U.S ship Maersk Alabama Wednesday, but Captain Phillips
thwarted the takeover by offering himself as a hostage.
Ibbi is the Somali minister for Fisheries. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that
support had been forthcoming, the pirates would not have posed the problems
they now causing off the Somali coast.
problem of the piracy in Somali sea waters is a problem and a very difficult
thing for everybody. But for us it is not a difficult thing because we as Somalis
have to show our experience of how we can handle and tackle these kinds of
problems. But we are deeply sorry and it is regrettable all these expenses that
the international community is spending towards addressing this piracy issue
sending all their naval vessels to Somali sea waters without doing anything at
all," Haji Ibbi said.
He said several requests by
the Somali government to help solve the piracy problem have fallen on deaf
"What they could have done, which we have
told them many times is that the Somali new government wants to solve once and
for all the problem of the piracy of the Somali seawaters. That the
international community could help us in a very simple manner giving us the
kind of support that our Somali coast guards will like to actually tackle all
these problems and we will do it. We use to do it and we have been doing it
during the Islamic Courts of Union we knew each other and the problem is not
the water. The problem is land so and we don't want the problems happening now
to continue," he said.
Ibbi said the international community has been reluctant to help with the new
government's effort to resolve the piracy menace.
"We have presented requests
to all of them, all of them. There is not a single member of the international
community that my president or prime minister has not mentioned this problem
to. They mention the problem of piracy to all the people of foreign governments
that they have met since the new government was formed and none has actually
given us the kind of response that we have expected from them. We are not
actually complaining, but what we are saying is to help the community to help
the people and we are saying please help us because we can actually do this job
in a very secure manner. And they know very well that we can do it," Haji Ibbi
He said the lack of funds
and logistics has made the Somali coast guard ineffective in preventing the
pirates from operating.
"What kind of coast guard
are we going to use to fight these pirates when we don't have money to pay
them? We as a government don't have that kind of money or economical support
which we can use to give to our soldiers to go and get these pirates and
everybody knows that. We are not actually getting revenue from anywhere except
the ports but we are still not getting the type of funds that we are looking
for. Don't forget the government is only one month and a couple of days and as
government we never inherited any economical infrastructure. For this country
there is no revenue there is no central bank and the money that we are getting
is that small thing from goods and services revenue from the port. In a whole
month we get only 45 to 50 thousand dollars," he said.
Haji Ibbi said the
government could easily deal with the pirates once it receives logistical and
"Definitely we can do that
and I can guarantee that we can deal with it as soon as possible. We know these
people and we know how to tackle them and how to solve the problem. We know
where these pirates are coming from, where they are going and we know their
tactics. Everybody know their own people and we keep asking the international
community, the United Nations and particularly the United States of America
which we believe have very good facilities for that and the European Union to
actually help us. I mean these are very simple things we can get to help the
world get rid of these pirates," Haji Ibbi noted.
capture of Captain Philip has once again focused world attention on Somali
piracy, as happened last year when gunmen seized a Saudi supertanker with $100
million of oil on board, and a Ukrainian ship with 33 tanks.
The United Nations World
Food Program says escalating attacks by Somali pirates are increasingly making
it harder to deliver food and relief aid to the hungry in some parts of Africa.
The organization said escalating attacks are raising insurance costs and making
shippers wary of going there, saying it now costs hundreds of millions of
dollars more to feed the same number of people because of the problems
associated with shipping food and high food prices.
The Kenyan port city of Mombasa, south of the Somalia
coast, is a vital hub for receiving food assistance for Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda,
Somalia and Kenya.
has brought in FBI hostage negotiators to work with
the military in trying to secure the release of Capt. Richard Phillips of
Underhill Vermont with officials saying the bandits were in talks with the Navy
about resolving the standoff peacefully.
The head of the US Central
Command, Gen. David Petraeus, said more ships
would be sent to the area to ensure that there is capability that might be
needed over the course of the coming days. Washington says it was seeking a
peaceful solution, but was not ruling out any option in freeing Phillips.
Some political observers
believe the additional ships are a show of force in response to a rise in the
number of attacks and the first one on a U.S.-flagged ship. The move is
expected to give the U.S. military more eyes on
the threatened area to act as a deterrent to future pirates attacks.
President Barack Obama is
reportedly being kept abreast with ongoing developments in the negotiations
between the military and the pirates who are still holding Captain Philips hostage.