Somalia: Gunrunners and Pirates Rule

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October 14, 2005: The transitional government has admitted the obvious, that it cannot police its nearly 3,000 kilometers of coastal waters. The government is asking for neighboring countries to send warships to patrol these waters, and make it possible for relief supplies to get through. The increase in pirate activity has caused many local shipping companies to refuse jobs involving Somalia.

October 13, 2005: Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, a prominent cleric, openly proclaimed his desire for the establishment of an Islamic dictatorship in Somalia. Some of the clans have backed Islamic conservatives in Somalia, but they are, so far, just one of many factions striving for supreme power.

October 12, 2005: Pirates seized a ship (the Miltzow), that was unloading food supplies, for distribution by the UN food program, at the port of Merka. The ship was forced to steam out of the port to an unknown destination.

October 10, 2005: Pirates seized a ship (the Torfelow) off the coast, that was carrying fuel and supplies for another ship (the Semlow) that had been seized by pirates last June, but recently freed.

October 9, 2005: Yemen admitted that it had broken the UN arms embargo by flying in 5,000 rifles and pistols (and 15,000 uniforms) for the police force the new transitional government was trying to form. Yemen thought it had the tacit approval of other countries in the region, as well as the UN. Illegal weapons are also coming in from Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Yemeni weapons were flown in last July, via one of the many Russian made An-26 transports used by gunrunners in the region. In this case, the An-26 belonged to the Yemeni air force.

October 6, 2005: The Bakaraaha Arms Market in Mogadishu continues to thrive, despite the UN arms embargo. The UN has discussed putting more teeth (ships off shore and diplomatic pressure on Somalia's neighbors) to cut off some of the arms shipments, but nothing has come of it. So the weapons continue to flow in, and the warlords grab what ever money they can from defenseless civilians, to pay for the AK-47s, heavy machine-guns, and ammunition. The clans are stocking up at the moment, for a major battle to determine which coalition of clans will run the new transitional government (which may not survive the battle.)

 

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