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Cablegate: Somalia - Puntland Success in Anti-Piracy Operation

VZCZCXRO6341
PP RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2368 2891543
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151543Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7301
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002368

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E AF/RSA AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV EWWT PTER PREL SO
SUBJECT: Somalia - Puntland Success in Anti-Piracy Operation

REF: Nairobi 02231

1. On October 14, security forces from Somalia's semi-autonomous
Puntland Region completed a successful operation against pirates
operating off Somalia's coast. On October 9, pirates seized the
Panamanian-flagged vessel "The Wail" while it was en route from Oman
to the Bossaso port in Puntland. On October 14, Puntland security
forces raided the ship and successfully liberated the vessel and its
crew of nine Syrians and two Somalis.

2. On October 15, Puntland Foreign Minister Ali Abdi Aware
contacted us to discuss the successful mission. He told PolOff "We
have now completed big operations and have been victorious. Even
when our forces were wounded, we did not give up." Puntland forces
made a first attempt to free the ship on October 19, engaging in an
armed confrontation with the pirates that reportedly resulted in the
death of two pirates and one of Puntland's security officers. Aware
said, "We can do more."

3. Minister Aware then put Puntland President Mohamed Muse Hersi on
the line and we congratulated him on the mission. President Hersi
stated that while other international forces are just observing the
activities of the pirates and nations are encouraging piracy with
the payment of high ransoms, Puntland is ready to take action.
Hersi said that although they have only three low-speed boats, they
have been able to accomplish two successful operations. (Note: In
April, Puntland rescued an Indian ship and crew after they were
given permission to interdict). President Hersi concluded, "We need
help - we need a coast guard."

4. Minister Aware continued the telephone call stating that with
the recent capture of these ten pirates, Puntland has more than 30
persons in its jails for piracy-related offenses. "Our jails are
full and we do not know what to do with all of these criminals who
are using Puntland as a base for their activities." Aware echoed
once again a plea for assistance and requested a more detailed
discussion of the points raised in President Hersi's response to
Assistant Secretary Frazer's letter urging more action on piracy
(reftel). He said that an investment in developing Puntland's
maritime security capacity would benefit the international
community.

5. Transitional Federal Government Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Information, Youth and Sports Ahmed Abdisalam Adan told
us on October 15 that throughout Somalia, piracy is now considered a
legitimate business. Young people with no opportunities are
especially vulnerable and they increasingly are looking to support
their families through activities on the high seas, Minister
Abdisalam said.

6. There have been more than 70 piracy attacks off the coast of
Somalia this year. The most recent vessel, a Philippine bulk
carrier flying a Panamanian flag, was seized on October 15 in the
Gulf of Aden while on its way to Asia. The International Maritime
Bureau reports that eleven hijacked ships remain in the hands of
pirates, along with more than 200 crew members.

MUSE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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