Image via WikipediaPiracy is an act of robbery in the high seas committed by non-state actors. Piracy in Somalia has caused widespread fragmentation and social divide among the communities of this part of this Horn of Africa such that, once considered irreligious, unpardonable, and a job to be scoffed at, it has become something to be bragged about despite having ramifications on the economy, on the society, and on the political stability of the region as a whole.
Since the collapse of the Somali central government in 1991, northeast Somalia saw the emergence of highway brigands who not only interrupt international shipping but also tremendously cause untold suffering to the thousands of innocent civilians living in squalid conditions. Drawn from former cadres of the Somali Navy and volunteer militia, piracy in northeast Somalia, as the pirates and their cohorts portend, has grown into being the stable sustainer of the economy, though, to the contrary, the living conditions among majority of the population is dismally beyond comprehension. Wife-stealing by extortion, prostitution conglomeration, drug abuse and violence, insecurity and malevolent acts have reduced once peaceful communities into avenues of hate and suspicion.
According to Bowden (2010), by 2010, Somali pirates had in their custody seamen from the nations of Bangladesh, China, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Turkey, Yemen, and Vietnam.
Lack of a workable legitimate government has made Somalia a center for international piracy. The presence of al-Shabab, an extremist religious faction known for instilling fear and servitude, has been a handicap to governance and stability. The most important aspect of governance in any nation is the presence of assured security. The international community will have to assist Somalia so it can stand on its feet again. Piracy can only be defeated inland and not at sea. The millions of dollars being spent on guarding Somalia’s territorial waters by foreign navies could have served a better cause if spent inland.
Bowden, Anna (2010), One Earth Future Working Paper, retrieved from http://oceansbeyondpiracy.org/sites/default/files/documents_old/The_Economic_Cost_of_Piracy_Full_Report.pdf