Arm & Leg for Piracy
Somali Islamic Courts Crack Down On Piracy
Created by doina. Last modified on 2006-11-23 10:05:13
A prominent Islamic organisation in Somalia has promised to stamp out the piracy which has been rampant along the Somali coast for years and a persistent threat to international shipping and yachts.
The last few months of 2006 have seen the increase in power of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Somalia, a country riven by years of civil war. The ICU now controls much of the south and central parts of the country where it is seeking to impose Islamic Sharia law.
The ICU's promise was dramatically demonstrated on November 8 when Islamist fighters stormed a UAE-registered ship hijacked by pirates and recovered it overnight. The eight pirates captured will go on trial and could face sharia punishment of the amputation of a left leg and right arm.
The ship was hijacked on November 1, with the pirates demanding a $1 million ransom to free the 14 crewmembers and their Ethiopian captain. Just over a week later, ICU fighters set off from coastal town of Haradhere in central Somalia, a place notorious for piracy, and chased and boarded the ship.
With the bumper time of year approaching for yachts to make the Red Sea transit, it remains to be seen whether this new development will have a noticeable effect on piracy incidents in the notorious Gulf of Aden.