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Issue 394

Front Page

News Headlines

Weapons Supplied To Somalia Government By The US Are Sold In Mogadishu Markets

The Shortest Man In Somaliland Leaves For Norway

Somaliland Parliament Says Suspension Of Voter Registration Illegal

Tostan Holds Conference On Women’s Genital Mutilation

UN Agencies Launch Next Round Of Child Health Initiative In Somaliland

An Interview With Ambassador Marika Fahlen, Sweden’s Special Envoy For The Horn Of Africa

Somalia Tells All Visitors To Seek Government Approval

Somaliland Government Controlled Media Used To Incite Extremism

Local and Regional Affairs

A CALL FOR DIALOGUE: To Hold A Free, Fair And Peaceful Presidential Election

East Africa: Ethiopia Takes Part in First East African Independent Producers Forum

Somalia Mosque Victims Belonged To Southern Punjab

Kenyan Court Drops Charges, Clears Way For Canadian Woman To Return Home

Al Shabaab Reportedly Beheads 4 Christians, Rips Gold Teeth From Locals' Mouths

2 Somali Women, Children Die In Fire

3rd Man Pleads Guilty In Missing Somalis Case

Man Gets 23 Years In Killing Of Somali Restaurant Cook

Athens Police Attack Somali Protesters

Libyans Kill 20 Somali Prisoners

Somalia: The Trouble with Puntland

Somali Insurgents Reject Government’s Olive Branch

Amnesty International Calls For Accountability And Safeguards On Arms Transfers To Somalia’s TFG

Eastern Africa Standby Force To Be Ready Next Year

Somali Islamists Pull Teeth From "Sinners": Residents

Communiqué: Conference With Former Senior Somali Military And Police Officers

Clinton And South African Discuss Somalia

Tribute To Ali Marshal


Western Countries Encourage Piracy By Paying Ransom

Features & Commentary

Somalia: The Center Cannot Hold

Incredible Journey of Somali Human Right Activist Waris Dirie – The Movie

Escape From Somaliland

Without Free Movement, East Africa Will Keep Marking Time

Clinton's Africa Trip Highlights Importance US Attaches To The Continent

What Was Siyad Barre's Relation To A Fundamentalist Christian Group?

Legal Brief On The Suspension Of The Voter Registration List

Mandela – Poem

AT THE MERCY OF SOMALI PIRATES: Hansa Stavanger Crew Describe Hostage Ordeal

Where Camels Once Trod, A Train Crosses Australia

Update: Independent Diplomat Responds

US Misguided In Moving To Arm Somalia, Say Analysts

President Isaias's Encounter With The Financial Times

Somalia: The Trouble With Puntland – Report

International News


Woman Who Tried To Kill Ford Released From Prison

A Short Guide To Tools For Citizen Journalists

Australian Camels Facing Slaughter

UN Human Rights Expert Sounds Alarm On Draft Media Laws In Venezuela

Poll Shows Afghan Vote Headed For Second Round

Bristol's World Cup Bid Brings Communities Together . . . On The Football Field


A Crucial Week For Somaliland: A Time For Action

Building Bridges For Somaliland University Student Outside And Inside The Country

Why I Fear For Somalia

Africa’s Best-Kept Secret “Somaliland” Is In Need For A Change!

Lost Faith In The System

Somalilanders Around The Globe: Vote For Change

Where There Is No Donor

Al-Shabaab: “The” Number One Enemy Of Islam And Somali People

President Riyale And The Election Commission Are The Reason Of The Election’s Bone Of Contention

EDITORIAL: Western Countries Encourage Piracy By Paying Ransom

This week has been something of a bonanza for Somali pirates. On Aug.8, pirates freed the German ship Hansa Stavanger and its 24 crew after holding them hostage for four months. The pirates were paid $2.7 million ransom. The German government neither confirmed nor denied that ransom was paid. But while talking to the press, the captain of the German navy's Brandenburg frigate, Torsten Ites who miraculously arrived just 12 minutes after the pirates had gotten their money and left, was most bothered by the fact that the pirates had taken with them the tooth brushes of the crew. And just in case the tooth brushes were not enough diversionary drama from the ransom business, the captain added that “the pirates appeared to have vanished into thin air despite the frigates' prompt arrival and a helicopter search operation.” That is the German story.
Now let us turn to the Italian story. On Aug. 10, the Italians paid Somali pirates $4 million for releasing a ship and its Italian crew members who were being held close to Las Qoray. As expected, the Italian government denied that ransom was paid, but there is evidence that ransom was paid indeed. Reuters (Aug.10, 2009) wrote, “Somali pirates received a $4 million ransom to free an Italian tugboat that was seized four months ago with a crew of 16, a member of the gang that held it captive said on Monday.” That ransom was paid was also confirmed by Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of regional maritime group, East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, who gave a higher figure for the ransom ($5 million instead of $4 million). "They were counting the money last evening," Mwangura told Reuters. The Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, of course, denied that ransom was paid and insisted that the release of the tugboat and its crew was due to collaboration of the government of Somalia, Puntland administration and Italy, "who made the pirates understand that the only solution was the liberation of the hostages.”
Now it is the turn of the French. On August 11, Somali kidnappers released six foreigners (two French, a Bulgarian, a Belgian, and two Kenyans) after a ransom of $3 million was paid to them. Reuters wrote, “‘I understand $3 million in ransom was paid to release the six aid workers kidnapped from our region,’ local elder Farah Hussein told Reuters by phone from Gurael in central Somalia.” The French government, of course, did not admit that ransom was paid, but it did release a statement in which “Sarkozy had reaffirmed his determination to fight against such acts with international partners.”
The pattern is clear. Somali pirates or militias take hostages. Western companies or governments pay ransom. Western governments deny that ransom was paid. Occasionally things do not go as smoothly and blood is spilled, but for the most part that is how it works. Somalis know this. Western governments know this.
Piracy is not the only topic about which western governments lie habitually. The very basis of western policy toward Somali affairs is based on a big lie, namely, that Sheikh Sharif (a.k.a Sheikh Xariif or the Shady Sheikh) is the “best hope” of Somalia.



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