Friday, October 10, 2008

An-all out War Against Piracy in the Horn

Since her capture by a dozen well-armed pirates a few weeks ago off the coast of Somalia, the Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina remains guarded on all fronts by a squadron of foreign navies each there to safeguard the dangerous cargo of ex-Soviet era T-72 tanks, rocket launchers, and thousands of ammunition whose destination remain a mystery. Because Somalia is perceived by the West as a haven for terrorists and their sympathizers, caution is being taken to ensure these dangerous cargo falls not onto the hands of terrorists.

The man who blew the whistle as far away as Kilindini in Mombasa, Andrew Mwangura, has been released on bail by a Kenyan judge a few days ago. Mwanguara's only crime is that he let the worms out of the can and revealed to the world what was expected to have been probably a top state secret. As head of the Sea farers Association, Mwangura carved out for himself a world grounded in secrecy. He has been a well known negotiator and well informed about the underworld of piracy in this part of the world. The claim by the Kenya Police that he was in possession of four rolls of Marijuana at the time of his arrest, has left many Kenyans laughing for weeks. It is common for the Kenya Police to frame whoever is in their list for eradication. One of the most corrupt nations in the world, Kenya's image in the world continues to dwindle drastically. What they want to tell you is that, Mwangura did not speak his mind freely, but was made loquacious by the puff of Cannabis sativa retrieved from his pockets.

Right now, Somalia's Red Sea coast has become a trouble spot where friends and foes feel it is time they join hands and rub bows so as to defend the world's oil energy passageway at a time when every nation is experiencing the worst economic gloom. Despite demanding $35 million at the initial hijack of the ship, the pirates have softened their stance and now demand a staggering $8 million ransom. Even as the world's most sophisticated navies gather in this dangerous waters of the Horn to deter further oil spill and energy hijack, what is being relayed by the media is nerve cracking: a couple ships have become victims while all eyes were turned on MV Faina.

Never have so many ships from an amalgamation of nations with differing ideologies and philosophical foundations gathered at a single spot since the end of the Cold War. While the nations of NATO have just announced that they will be sending a flotilla, the Russians, Kenyans, Malaysians, South African, and the Spanish have also embarked on the same efforts and level. Thus, the Horn of Africa will undoubtedly experience the greatest naval concentration of the century. Aircraft Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyers, Frigates, Submarines, Auxiliaries, Mine Sweepers, Mine Layers, and Corvettes of all makes will perhaps converge sooner or later to clean the Red Sea of the most monotonous pirates of the 21st century.

For Ali Sugule, the pirates' spokesman and his henchmen, there is a shadow of doubt whether the allies of the French commandos who wrecked havoc on your pirate cousins a few months ago, will ever fulfill any promise and deliver a suitcase containing $8 million without a thorough fight. Finally, after the dust settles, navies from all walks of life will eventually regroup to have naval exercises of the century where pirates once ruled undisturbed.

My best bet is that these navies will turn their radars on to the west coast of Africa where Africa's giant, Nigeria, remains a victim of piracy that has failed to grab international attention after Somalia is cleaned of piracy. A nation that has been at the mercy of dreaded generals since independence, Nigeria, a nation of over 100 million people, should not be left to suffer the pains that had Somalia capture international media the past few years.

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