Somalia: Cure for Piracy in Doubt


December 10, 2005: Top Cat Marine, the company the Somali government has hired to clean out the pirates along the coast, turned out to have a buccaneering background itself, including shady deals, bankruptcy, former South African mercenaries and other interesting touches. But the company has, on occasion, delivered. Whether it will here, and whether the Somali government can pay for the services, remains to be seen.

December 8, 2005: A Thai oil tanker, refueling Thai fishing boats off the coast, managed to get away from Somali pirates, a close call that is becoming increasingly common.

December 7, 2005: Somaliland and Puntland have made up after their brief border war last year. They have exchanged prisoners taken during that conflict.

December 5, 2005: The increased pirate activity off the coast has forced the UN to move some food aid by road, which has slowed down deliveries. The 1,200 kilometer journey from Kenya, included negotiating 25 warlord militia checkpoints along the way.

December 4, 2005: The Somalia Transitional Government and Ethiopia have signed a cooperation treaty. Not a big deal treatywise, but it means Ethiopia is treating the new government like a government. Which is a big deal, especially given the number of armed groups operating along the Ethiopian border.

December 3, 2005: Warlords are learning how to control the Internet. As phone service (via private companies) improves, more Somalis are getting on the Internet, and providing more information to the outside world about what is going on in the country. Blogs and bulletin board postings provide people outside the country with a link to daily events in Somalia. The downside is that the warlords are surfing the net as well, and are coming after Somalis who say things the warlords don't like. Recently, a Somali reporter, Ahmed Mohammed Aden, posted a report about how the Jubba Valley Alliance (which controls much of southern Somalia) was illegally importing arms. Shortly thereafter, Ahmed Mohammed Aden was "arrested" by warlord militiamen, and is still being held for posting the truth.



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