Of Toxic Wastes, Warlords, and Pirates

“Today, they (the pirates) number around 1,500 up, from around 100 five to seven years ago,” the seafarers’ advocate said.

“They’re earning a lot of money and everyone wants to join,” Mwangura said, adding, “They’re getting new recruits everyday.”

With the bounty coming from the crime, some Somalis have considered piracy as a noble profession, some observers say.

“They always travel in beautiful four-wheel drive luxury cars and look like people who are working for a big business company,” a certain Mahad Shiekh Madar, said to be a car salesman in the northeastern port of Bossaso on the tip of the “lawless” horn of Africa.

Abdulahi Salad, 43, also a former pirate in the central coastal village of Gaan, said pirates were different from the ordinary gunmen in Somalia: they are not thin, and they have bright faces and are always happy.

At late morning last April 20, speedboat-riding pirates sprayed bullets on M/V New Legend of Honor late morning of the said date, aiming to stop the ship. But the hijack attempt was thwarted when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ships patrolling in the area responded to the distress signal.

Earlier, the “pirates” had fired rockets at the Maltese-flagged M/V Atlantica, but the attack failed.(Bulatlat.com)

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