In Puntland, the army has sent
troops to the coastal village where pirates are holding kidnapped ships. The
soldiers do not want to free the ships and their crews, but want to make sure
they get some of the ransom money. Foreign navies are going to have a hard time
putting down the pirates, unless they attack the coastal villages where the
pirates hang out. That will cause civilian casualties, which the pirates and
local politicians will use as propaganda ("atrocities", "Western imperialism", "neo-colonialism"
and so on). Finding pirates among the many small ships using the Gulf of Aden
will not be easy.
2008: The TNG is broke, as most foreign
aid money has been cut off. That's because most of this cash (over $100 million
in the last year or so), disappeared into warlords pockets, leaving aid
projects and government employees unpaid.
2008: Kenya has sent troops (including
warplanes and helicopters) to the Somali border, to deal with recent ICU
violence. This caused the ICU gunmen to return the Kenyan police vehicle, and
four weapons taken from policemen. The three ICU men, who were entering Somalia
via Kenya, were not returned. The ICU smuggles men, weapons and money in from
Kenya. Iran is apparently supplying the ICU with cash.
2008: Pirates in Puntland are demanding a
$1.1 million to release the Dutch ship they seized on May 26th. The
ship owners are only willing to pay $700,000. The Somali governments (the Transitional
National Government, or TNG, Somaliland and Puntland) insist that if no ransoms
were paid, the piracy would stop. But the pirates would probably murder crew
members if that happened, and no ship owners are willing to accept the blowback
2008: The UN authorized foreign navies
to enter Somali waters to pursue pirates. The U.S. and several European nations
have warships in the area.
2008: In Eritrea, where the ICU has
established its headquarters-in-exile, moderate (willing to negotiate a peace
deal) and radical (not willing to negotiate) factions are feuding over who
should run the Islamic coalition. The moderates are in charge now, but the
radicals see themselves as Gods anointed. The radicals insist that there be no
peace talks until Ethiopian troops get out of Somalia. Ethiopia won't do that,
because the ICU is supporting a rebellion in the Ethiopian Ogaden province.
2008: On the Kenyan border, ICU gunmen attacked
Kenyan police, who were taking three ICU men (two of them had been living in
Britain) who were caught sneaking into Kenya, and trying to get to Somalia. One
of the policemen was wounded, and their vehicle stolen.
2008: In the north, off the coast of
Puntland, pirates seized two more ships.
2008: In the south, things got worse as
gunmen from the Luwey clan showed up at peace negotiations between elders from
the Luwey and Marehan clans. Five Marehan elders were killed and seven others
wounded. This has prolonged the violence between the two clans. Attacking
elders, particularly when they are trying to negotiate peace, is frowned upon,
and quite rare.
2008: In Mogadishu, Islamic Courts Union
(ICU) gunmen attacked the base of the 2,400 African Union peacekeepers. The AU
soldiers pursued the attackers, and killed two of them. At least ten civilians
were also killed by the initial ICU mortar and machine-gun fire. In the north,
off the coast of Puntland, pirates seized a Dutch ship, and its crew of nine.