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Cablegate: Somalia - Puntland Response to a/S Frazer's Piracy

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DE RUEHNR #2231/01 2661350
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O 221350Z SEP 08
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002231

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EWWT FR PGOV PINS PREL SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - PUNTLAND RESPONSE TO A/S FRAZER'S PIRACY
LETTER

REF: STATE 93932

NAIROBI 00002231 001.2 OF 002


1. Post forwarded A/S Frazer's reftel letter urging more be
done on piracy to Mohamed Muse Hersi, President of Somalia's
semi-autonomous Puntland region. Hersi's response follows in
paragraph 3.

2. Separately, poloff shared A/S Frazer's letter with Ali
Abdi Aware, Puntland's foreign relations minister. Aware
affirmed Puntland was doing all it could to counter piracy
off its Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden coasts. Not
surprisingly, his letter contained an extensive list of
equipment and materiel Puntland needs, includin six boats, 24
sport utility vehicles, and training and salaries for a
250-man Anti-Piracy Brigade. By our calculations, the latter
alone carries a $4.5 million price tag. Aware praised the
September 16 French raid rescuing two French nationals from
Somali pirates. Aware said more countries should take direct
action against the pirates, rather than pay astronomical
ransoms for hijacked ships and crews. Aware pointed out that
Puntland had rescued an Indian ship and crew in April, after
India had given Puntland permission to interdict. Those
captured pirates had been tried and sentenced to life. Aware
said his government wants more international coordination on
piracy, and said he will be the primary point of contact for
future cooperation.

3. Begin Text of Letter:

Dear Assistant Secretary,

Thank you for you letter of 9 September 2008 passed on to me
by H.E. Ambassador Michael E. Rannenberger. I greatly value
your emphasis on the importance of our relationship. Your
government,s support to Somalia in general and Puntland in
particular is very much appreciated. I could not agree more
that we need to take action to curb challenges including
piracy detrimental to our cooperation.

I am pleased to reconfirm that Puntland State Government
remains committed, despite our limited means, to fight piracy
in Puntland waters. I expressed my concern in detail on the
growing piracy as well as other security and terrorism
related issues in my letter of 9 April to the U.S. Government
through Ambassadors Rannenberger and Yamamoto, hoping to get
early assistance to combat pirates before reaching the
current level of madness.

The recurrence of security incidents from the end of last
year prompted initiatives taken by the Government in
collaboration with the communities and civil society
organizations. A new Ministry for Security was instituted in
December 2007 with an increased budget allocation for the
implementation of rule of law and a senior experienced police
general with a proven record appointed as its Minister. A
new Police commander and a Deputy Commander were also
appointed later as a beginning of first touches of a
comprehensive reform of Police Command structure. In line
with these changes, a new Puntland Security Policy was drawn
and approved by the Cabinet Council in June.

By using three low speed ships and four short scope radars of
our own, we have done as much as we could do under
circumstances of limited resources and equipment, hunting
down the known criminals, arresting nearly 40 of them,
wounding some seriously and killing a few in the course of
duty. Puntland forces rescued an Indian cargo ship and its
crew from pirates last April. Those arrested in that
operation are now serving life imprisonment and the other
prisoners are awaiting trial. Numerous planned attacks on
foreign vessels and boats have also been intercepted,
frustrated or thwarted by Puntland security forces. Pirates
continue to fight back, buying loyalty and hideouts in major
towns, thereby endangering security personnel. However,
inland pirate resistance has weakened and poses only
occasional desperate threat to the individual security
personnel.

As cost increased with the number of continuous security
operations carried out over the last 10 months coupled with
food price hikes and drought, we have been unable to pay most
of the salaries.

NAIROBI 00002231 002.2 OF 002

With the help of the international community and the United
States, Puntland administration, at best, can take the
following actions:

-- Placement of a marine force of 35 men in each of six
selected coastal settlements: Gara'ad, Eyl, Hafun, Bargal,
Alula and Las-Khorei and an additional 40-man mobile rapid
deployment unit to deny pirates to launch attacks from the
shore since little can be done when a ship is seized at sea;
-- Supply of arms to the 250-man Special Task Force against
piracy;
-- Legislation of an anti-piracy act by the Parliament of
Puntland;
-- Dissemination of public information brochures through the
media explaining how piracy is un-Islamic, un-Somali and a
criminal activity in international law; and
-- Promotion of community national awareness about the issue
of piracy.

This is as far as we can stretch ourselves. Yet, it will not
tackle the present piracy problem effectively without
external backing, because huge ransoms demanded and paid
enabled the pirates to buy faster marine transport and more
weapons. I would like therefore to ask your Government and
the international community to assist us in the following
areas:

-- Training of the Special Task Force against piracy;
-- Budget support for the task force for a period of 12
months ($50 per day X 250 for subsistence, incentives,
health, fuel and maintenance);
-- Twenty-two four-wheel drive pick-up vehicles;
-- Supply of six speed boats to cover the 1650 km coastline
of Puntland and
Communication equipment.

Finally Madam, I strongly believe that with your help on an
emergency basis we can together defuse the ongoing situation
in Puntland waters starting with a coordinated sea and land
attack to free the ten or so ships and their crews now being
held. We look forward to hearing from you and the
international community at your earliest convenience.

With my highest considerations.

Best Regards,

//signed//

Mohamoud Muse Hersi,
President,
Puntland State Government

End Text.

4. Post will convey Washington's response when available.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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