Somalia: Pirates Back in Business


May 3, 2007: The fighting in March and April killed about 1,700 people in Mogadishu. The Islamic Courts and their clan allies are beaten, for the moment, and many of the Islamic Courts fighters who survived have fled the city, promising to resume their fight for control of the country. For the moment, the Transitional Government, their Ethiopian allies and African Union peacekeepers, control Mogadishu, and a lot of the surrounding territory.

May 9, 2007: Acting on tips, AU peacekeepers in Mogadishu are searching homes for weapons, and finding lots of stuff to seize. In some cases, the peacekeepers get tips from neighbors. Some 12 kilometers north of Mogadisihu, pirates seized a freighter from Dubai. and took it to a coastal village 400 kilometers to the north, where the pirates have reestablished a base of operations.

May 7, 2007: The African Union has agreed to send another 8,000 peacekeepers to Somalia. It will probably take a month or more to get the troops into Somalia.

May 5, 2007: The new mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Dheere, a former local warlord, has ordered everyone in the city to give up their weapons, or at least no longer carry them in public. Illegal shops set up in sidewalk shacks were also ordered taken down (something the merchants in buildings had long called for.) Cars with tinted windows were also banned. Dheere was appointed because he was a local power, and had worked for the Americans in the past. May 4, 2007: In the north, off Puntland, pirates seized three foreign fishing boars. These boats are supposed to make a payment to the local warlord, or risk attack.

May 3, 2007: The new city government in Mogadishu promised to protect the major businessmen, and in return these guys are turning in hundreds of rifles and machine-guns they have stockpiled. There was also the threat that, if the businessmen did not comply, the government would declare them allies of the Islamic Courts (which they were, until recently) and confiscate their property.


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