African Security Piracy in Somalia

African Security Piracy in Somalia - African Security...

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African Security: Piracy in Somalia Setting the context for Piracy… What are the roots of piracy in Somalia? Many of the points Williams makes are evident in this case study. State failure (1991), environmental stress (foreign overfishing in Somali waters, toxic waste disposal in Gulf of Aden, famine etc…). Until 1991 when the Somali regime collapsed, the state was a recipient of foreign aid – particularly to its fishing industry. This was largely for export, as there was little demand within the country for seafood. Setting the Context… Somali fishermen faced competition from foreign trawlers using illegal nets, while Swiss and Italian companies were dumping toxic waste in fishing ground. This dumping led to health crises along the coast of Somalia. This created a powerful incentive for fisherman to form vigilante groups to challenge these illegal activities which threatened their people and livelihoods. They formed groups like the volunteer coastguard of Somalia, but their lack of funds caused these efforts to wane over time. These efforts failed, but were replaced by armed gangs seizing foreign vessels (unarmed commercial vessels) for ransom. Like coca producers in Columbia and Peru, this was the easiest and in most cases, only way for many young men to earn a living. Piracy gave young males income and social prestige. Over time the scope of these activities increased with attacks switching to large and relatively unarmed commercial vessels. These attacks also moved further out to sea into the Gulf of Aden and away from the Somali coastline.
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