Search This Blog

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Somali coast problem is foreign made

Tedla Asfaw

The so called Somali Transitional Government of Abdullahi Yusuf is asking Russia to take all the necessary actions on the Somali gunmen who hijacked the Ukrainian ship with twenty  Ukrainian and Russian crewmen on board week ago. Who are these hijackers? The Somali coast for the last twenty years has been a free coast for the United  Fish Looters (UFL) to come and fish on Somali coast and profit an estimated  $300 million per year at the expense of local fishermen.

The local Somalis organized a vigilante groups to scare away the UFL and they were not successful. These looters are carrying bogus flags of different countries and carry  fake licenses given by former Somali officials one of whom is Abduillhi Yusuf the current president of Somalia in Mogadishu who personally profited.

Somali coast has also become a damping ground for toxic wastes  and the United Nation which calls to fight piracy never addressed the issue of Somalis who lost livelihood to the well organized looters and did not take any action also on foreign companies that polluted the coast of Somalia and endangered the lives of many people.

Currently the Somalis has set up a strong thousand armed men who are moving on small boats to hijack ships and demand money. Some countries negotiate and pay and recently France sent a commando and rescue its people and capturing some of the hijackers.

The Ukrainian ship is rather interesting because of the 33 Russian made battle tanks it carry and the destination of the cargo that is still debatable, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia the possibilities. Recently Meles Zenawi was heard saying that he is worried about "piracy" on Somali coast. He might be worried this time more because he might lose the tanks if it indeed was destined for his war in Somalia as Somali Islamic fighters alleged and call the hijackers to burn the ship.

The American war ship is following closely the week old sea drama and buying time for the Russian ship which is still far to take on the Somali gunmen. From previous Russian rescue missions of hostages, the one ended up gassing everyone in Moscow might be the conclusion of this week old drama if Abdullahi Yusuf request is answered.

Such action will not stop future hijacking by gunmen in the more than 3,200 km coast of Somalia. The problem on the sea is not different from the problem of Somalia and unless Somalia is left alone from all outsiders and find its way to function as a country and control its resources the Somali coast will not be safe for anyone.