The government officials in northern Somalia have shared their concerns over the revival of piracy. They have requested the foreign nations and the naval armada patrolling the coast to contribute in creating jobs in addition to the ashore security. These steps can also benefit in combating illegal fishing at sea.
Abdalla Jama Saleh, Puntland’s Counter-Piracy Minister, has agreed that the patrolling of foreign warships off the coast and presence of the armed guards on many vessels have resulted in reducing the incidents of piracy. But these pirates are not dead, but dormant presently and would come back if they are not rehabilitated properly. Even the presence of a brand new prison at the Eyl, in Puntland’s capital, Garowe is the most visible sign of the outside world’s attempt to fight piracy ashore. The UK among a group of European nations has played a significant role in combating piracy where it has paid for the construction of the prison at Eyl. The existence of prison helps young people in seeing their colleagues with long sentences. Abdirizak Jama, United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime felt that the presence of cell can serve as a warning signal for them and can be used for rehabilitating the inmates.
Puntland’s President Abdiweli Ali Gaas has requested the international community to do at both onshore and sea. He alleged the western countries are having double standards and concerned about only the stopping of Somali piracy. But they are not taking any substantial efforts tackle the highway robbery which is plundering Somalia’s natural resources. He also warned that in an absence of employment opportunities, young men may get motivated to resort to piracy once again.
Somalia is still struggling to negotiate the terms of its reintegration as a nation-state even after the decades of internal conflict. The fishing licenses have been issued by different administrations, and there are deep concerns about corruption. Puntland believes it is currently being cheated of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues.
Alan Cole, heading UNODC’s Anti-Piracy programme in East Africa said, “There’s uncertainty between the federal government [of Somalia] and regions [like Puntland] for fishing companies regarding the validity of licenses and who to buy from”. Puntland owns a well-trained Maritime Police Force, funded by the UAE. But it is too small to patrol even a portion of Somalia’s coastline.