The leader of a Somali group of pirates, Mr. Abshir Abdullah, has assured Somalia and the international community that the era of pirate activities are over. After a meeting in the autonomous region of Puntland in Northern Somalia, over 200 Somali pirates renounced piracy and crimial activities. The rebels have been cleared and government authorities have agreed to give them amnesty for previous hijackings and robberies along the Gulf of Aden.
The Somali pirates have agreed to work with local leaders to get other pirates to give up what can sometimes be a profitable life on the high seas. “I see myself as someone who has been saved from bad deeds. I understand the wrong things that I was involved in and I’m aware now these acts are wrong in Islamic teachings,” Abdullah said.
In April, after the kidnap and successful rescue of America’s Captain Richard Phillips, US President, Mr. Barack Obama along with other world leaders resolved to halt the rise of piracy off the Somali coast: Warships from several countries have been sent to patrol the Indian Ocean, as the pirates threatened some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Yesterday, a Nato warship in the Gulf of Aden intercepted two boats carrying suspected pirates and disarmed them: Large amount of firearms and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as equipment such as hook ladders were found and confiscated. “I will advise those who want to go to sea, they must not do it and I hope they will stop it as we have agreed. The ones who are holding ships now, I would call them to release them and they ought not do it again,” Abdullah added.
The pirates’ transformation comes a week after Somalia’s interim government asked for international help to set up a national coastguard to help tackle piracy, and protect fishermen from illegal foreign fishing boats and to prevent dumping of toxic materials.
Piracy in Somalia has flourished because the country has been without a stable government since 1991. Pirates have been under pressure from local leaders, who have accused them of damaging their communities.