Somaliland Navy: The Only Way to stop Somali Piracy
Piracy is most lucrative business in many parts of Somalia including “Puntland” and Central Regions. Piracy attracted many jobless and poor Somalis, because piracy is very big and easy money. Millions of dollars were paid to the Somali pirates from “Puntland”, which is much more than national budget.
In general, Somali Pirates focus on lawless areas of Somali water including busy shipping lanes near the “Puntland” and Indian Ocean including Gulf of Aden, where dozens of boats and ships been hijacked this year. According to the International Maritime Bureau, 69 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January; 27 were hijacked and 11 are still being held for ransom including recent Saudi Oil Tanker with ransom money of 25 billion dollars.
Somali pirates are holding more than 200 crew members of different hijacked ships and boats. USA and EU have agreed to joint anti-piracy operations off the Indian Ocean and Somali Water amid growing demands for action against the violent Somali pirates. The question is, how do you think Somali piracy should be tackled?
Majority of the pirates off “Puntland” Coast are former Police Officers turned Pirates, after “Puntland” administration failed to pay handsome salaries. Also, the high-ranking officials of both “Puntland” and Transitional Government of Somalia (TGS) in Mogadishu take loin´s share in the ransom money. “Puntland” President Adde Moose and TGS President Abdullah Yusuf are major players and architect of piracy business in Somalia. Yusuf served as “Puntland” leader at the beginning of piracy.
In other hand, Republic of Somaliland established well-trained Navy to protect its water from the piracy. Berbera Marine College is famous producer of highly-qualified Navy Officers, who follow International Maritime Bureau standards and regulations including those against piracy. Moreover, Somaliland formed Military, Police, Jails Authority, and carried out elections. Somaliland achieved all these accomplishments by its own.
Somaliland Navy has technology and military capabilities to eliminate the piracies and to blow up their bases inside Somalia including “Puntland”. But unfortunately, the international community is wasting their precious time searching the solution of the piracy at the wrong place. The Solution is recognizing Somaliland, than Somaliland will establish as regional economic power and caretaker of world interest in the region. Somaliland has elected president and parliament, and furthermore, there is biometric voter registration taking place. This is the first time in African history.
Berbera Marine College is functioning almost in last five years with more than 100 Officers graduating from the college each year. Somaliland Government established the colleges after the need of Navy arise in the region, due to illegal fishing and human trafficking.
Today, neither human trafficking nor piracy persists within Somaliland water after the creation of Somaliland Navy Forces. Somaliland Navy Forces cooperate with International counterparts stationed in nearby Djibouti in tackling the pirates, and even Somaliland arrested many pirates, who later claimed to be “Puntland” former Police Officers.
The International community should support Somaliland diplomatically in order to end the piracy and violence inside Somalia, because Somaliland has all possible mechanisms to fight terrorists and pirates inside Somalia. Somaliland will play active role in war on terror and fight against piracy, in which Somaliland will be leading factor.
Somaliland is registering citizens using biometric technology. The national budget increased 27% in 2008 compare to 2007. All these progress was result of Somaliland´s commitment towards developing country and people. Also, Somaliland is managing steady increase in revenue and which is leading the rise in the national domestic production
In 1991 Somaliland reclaimed its lost independence from Somalia, and ever since it’s peaceful and without piracy. Why? Because of there is real functioning institutions and elected government unlike Somalia with no central government and warlords are committing crimes against humanity. AU and IGAD isolated Somaliland enough, and it is time that AU and IGAD accept the reality inside Somaliland.
Illegal Activities in Somali Water:
Somalia remained without central government for decades, leading the country to be an example of failed state and center of lawlessness, which attracted many criminals and terrorists to use as hidey-hole.
Al-Qaeda fugitives from Iraq and Afghanistan settled in southern Somalia and formed religious fundamentalist groups like Al-Itahad Al-Islamiya and Al-Shabab armed groups. Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden visited Somalia in mid 1996 along with number of his children. Large number of Arab and Somali fighters in Afghanistan against the Russian occupation entered Somalia after collapse of Somali government 1991.
These terrorists created terror network across the region, and carried out bombing of US Embassies in Nairobi and Darussalam, in addition to recent suicide bombing in Hargiesa, Capital of Somaliland. These groups conducted explosives training to their colleagues. Many intelligence sources believe that Al-Qaeda used Somalia as center of carrying out operations against neighboring countries.
Furthermore, Mafia signed off many business deals to dump toxic nuclear waste in the Somali water, from Italia, German and many European Countries. In 1992, a contract to secure the dumping of toxic waste was made by Swiss and Italian shipping firms a chair Partners and Progresso, with Nur Elmi Osman, a former official appointed to the government of Ali Mahdi Mohamed, one of many militia leaders involved in the ousting of Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia’s former president.
UNEP Executive Director, told Al-Jazeera TV Channel, that he unveiled firms was set up as fictitious companies by larger industrial firms to dispose of hazardous waste. These companies with Mafia signed contracts with firms, using Somali Warlords in Mogadishu. Even Somali fishermen reported large containers at the Mogadishu coast washed out by the Tsunami.
“At the time, it felt like we were dealing with the Mafia, or some sort of organized crime group, possibly working with these industrial firms,” he said.
The International Community organized 14 Peace Conferences between the fighting Somali groups to settle their difference but all failed, which means these groups are not willing to live in peace. Hence, the International Community, AU and IGAD should review their policy towards Somaliland and not consider the old version of respecting the unity of Somalia: Somaliland is free and constructive nation and should be accepted by the regional and international communities.
By; Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi