10/05/09 (B498) Le Journal de la Flibuste … (4 articles en Français et en Anglais)

_____________________________ 4 – Le Figaro avec AFP

Somalie: quatorze pirates condamnés

Un tribunal de la région autoproclamée autonome du Puntland, dans le nord-est de la Somalie, a condamné ce dimanche quatorze pirates à des peines allant de quatorze à vingt ans de prison.

Les prévenus avaient été arrêtés par des garde-côtes du Puntland près du port de Barbera. Trois des condamnés l’ont été par contumace après avoir échappé à ces arrestations la semaine passée.

Neuf prévenus ont été condamnés à des peines de quinze ans de prison et cinq à vingt ans, dont les trois actuellement en fuite. Les autorités du Puntland ont jusqu’à présent emprisonné 62 pirates.

L’activité des pirates somaliens ne connaît pas de répit dans cette région, malgré le déploiement de navires militaires étrangers pour assurer la sécurité d’une zone clé du trafic maritime mondial.

Les pirates ont attaqué plus de 130 navires marchands au large de la Somalie l’an dernier, une hausse de plus de 200% par rapport à 2007, selon le Bureau maritime international. Au moins 19 navires et leurs équipages sont actuellement détenus.

_____________________________ 3 – Portail des sous-marins

Le Japon pourrait envoyer 2 avions de patrouille maritime pour la lutte contre la piraterie

Par Rédacteur en chef.

Pour la première fois, le Japon prévoit d’envoyer 2 de ses avions de patrouille maritime Orion P-3C dans une mission à l’étranger pour des opérations de lutte anti-piraterie au large de la Somalie, ont indiqué dimanche des sources gouvernementales.

 Le ministre japonais de la défense, Yasukazu Hamada, devrait donner l’ordre dès que le projet aura été approuvé par le comité de sécurité du gouvernement japonais et par le gouvernement lui-même.

En cas d’approbation, ce serait la première fois que des avions de patrouille maritime japonais seraient envoyés en mission à l’étranger.

Dès l’ordre reçu, le ministère de la défense devrait envoyer rapidement une équipe avancée à Djibouti avant d’envoyer l’unité principale plus tard au mois de mai, ont indiqué les sources. Les avions devraient commencer leur mission au mois de juin depuis l’aéroport de Djibouti, a indiqué l’agence Kyodo.

La mission comprendra environ 150 militaires, dont les équipages de P-3C et les équipes de sécurité au sol qui vont protéger l’aéroport, selon le ministère.

Les P-3C vont compléter l’action des 2 destroyers japonais qui escortent dans le golfe d’Aden les navires de commerce ayant des liens avec le Japon.

_____________________________ 2 – Garowe (En Anglais)

Pour les pirates somaliens, le pire ennemi est sur le rivage. // For Somali Pirates, Worst Enemy May Be on Shore


Abshir Boyah, a towering, notorious Somali pirate boss who admits to hijacking more than 25 ships and to being a member of a secretive pirate council called

Abshir Boyah, one of Somalia’s best-known pirates. Facing intensifying naval pressure and a rising backlash on land, Mr. Bohah is now promising to quit the buccaneering business.

Hawo, left, with a friend, is the wife of the pirate Abshir Boyah, who says that he is thinking of giving up pirating.

Facing intensifying naval pressure on the seas and now a rising backlash on land, Mr. Boyah has been shuttling between elders and religious sheiks fed up with pirates and their vices, promising to quit the buccaneering business if certain demands are met.

“Man, these Islamic guys want to cut my hands off,” he grumbled over a plate of camel meat and spaghetti. The sheiks seemed to have rattled him more than the armada of foreign warships patrolling offshore. “Maybe it’s time for a change.”

For the first time in this pirate-infested region of northern Somalia, some of the very communities that had been flourishing with pirate dollars — supplying these well-known criminals with sanctuary, support, brides, respect and even government help — are now trying to push them out.

Grass-roots, antipirate militias are forming. Sheiks and government leaders are embarking on a campaign to excommunicate the pirates, telling them to get out of town and preaching at mosques for women not to marry these un-Islamic, thieving “burcad badeed,” which in Somali translates as sea bandit. There is even a new sign at a parking lot in Garoowe, the sun-blasted capital of the semiautonomous region of Puntland, that may be the only one of its kind in the world. The thick red letters say: No pirates allowed.

Much like the violence, hunger and warlordism that has engulfed Somalia, piracy is a direct — and some Somalis say inevitable — outgrowth of a society that has languished for 18 years without a functioning central government and whose
economy has been smashed by war.

But here in Garoowe, the pirates are increasingly viewed as stains on the devoutly Muslim, nomadic culture, blamed for introducing big-city evils like drugs, alcohol, street brawling and AIDS. A few weeks ago, Puntland police officers broke up a bootlegging ring and poured out 327 bottles of Ethiopian-made gin. In Somalia, alcohol is shunned. Such a voluminous stash of booze is virtually unheard of.

“The pirates are spoiling our society,” said Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud, Puntland’s new president. “We will crush them.”

In the past 18 months, Somali pirates have netted as much as $100 million hijacking dozens of ships and holding them ransom, according to international maritime groups. It will be exceedingly difficult for these men — or the local businesses that they support — to make that kind of money doing anything else in this beleaguered nation.

Still, the Puntland pirate bosses insist they are ready to call it quits, if the sheiks find jobs for their young underlings and help the pirates form a coast guard to protect Somalia’s 1,880-mile coastline from illegal fishing and dumping. These are longstanding complaints made by many Somalis, including those who don’t scamper up the sides of cargo ships, AK-47 in hand.

It is a stretch, to say the least, that the world would accept being policed by rehabilitated hijackers. But on Monday, Mr. Boyah and two dozen other infamous Puntland pirates, many driving Toyota Surfs, a light, fast sport utility vehicle that has become the pirate ride of choice, arrived at an elder’s house in Garoowe to make their case nonetheless.

“Negotiation is our religion,” said one pirate, Abdirizak Elmi Abdullahi.
Puntland officials acknowledge, grudgingly, that the pirates have helped them in a way: bringing desperately needed attention and aid.

“Sad but true,” said Farah Dala, Puntland’s minister of planning and international cooperation. “After all the suffering and war, the world is finally paying attention to our pain because they’re getting a tiny taste of it.”

Last month, after an American sea captain was kidnapped by Somali pirates, donor nations pledged more than $200 million for Somalia, in part to fight piracy.

Since then, foreign navies have increased their patrols and arrested dozens of pirates. Mr. Boyah conceded that business was getting riskier. But, he said, there are still plenty of merchant ships — and plenty of ocean.

“It’s like hunting out there,” Mr. Boyah said through an interpreter. “Sometimes you get a deer, sometimes you get a dik-dik,” a runty antelope common in Somalia.

Mr. Boyah, 43, was born in Eyl, a pirate den on the coast. He said he dropped out of school in third grade, became a fisherman and took up hijacking after illegal fishing by foreign trawlers destroyed his livelihood in the mid-1990s.

“He’s respected as a pioneer,” said Yusuf Hassan, the managing editor of Garoowe Online, a Somali news Web site.

When Mr. Boyah walked into a restaurant recently, he had to shake half a dozen hands before sitting at a plastic, fly-covered table with two foreign journalists.

“Ha!” he said, through a mouthful of spaghetti. “Me eating with white men. This is like the cat eating with the mice!”

The restaurant sat across from the presidential palace. Mr. Boyah cut right through a crowd of Puntland soldiers to enter. He is hard to miss, about 6 foot 4 and dangerously thin. Earlier, he had been sitting on a couch, thigh to thigh, next to a high-ranking police chief. The two joked — or maybe it was not a joke — that they were cousins.

Puntland’s last president, Mohamud Muse Hirsi, was a former warlord widely suspected of collaborating with pirates and voted out of office in January. The new president, Mr. Abdirahman, is a technocrat who had been living in Australia and came back with many Western-educated advisers — and an ambition to be
Somalia’s first leader to do something substantive about piracy. He formed an antipiracy commission and even issued a “First 100 Days” report.

Yet, Puntland officials are doing precious little about the pirate kings under their noses — reluctant, perhaps, to provoke a war with crime lords backed by hundreds of gunmen. When asked why they weren’t arresting the big fish, Mr. Abdirahman said, “Rumors are one thing, but we need evidence.”

Indeed, it is hard to see exactly where all those millions went, at least here in Garoowe. There are some nice new houses and a few new hotels where pirates hang out, including one encased in barbed wire called “The Ladies’ Breasts.” Dozens of dusty Surfs prowl the streets. But not much else.

Mr. Boyah, who lives in a simple little house, explains: “Don’t be surprised when I tell you all the money has disappeared. When someone who never had money suddenly gets money, it just goes.”

He claims that his estimated take of several hundred thousand dollars disappeared down a vortex of parties, weddings, jewelry, cars and qat, the stimulating leaf that Somalis chew like bubble gum.

Also, because of the extended network of relatives and clansmen, “it’s not like three people split a million bucks,” he said. “It’s more like 300.”

Oh, Mr. Boyah added, he also gives 15 percent to charity, especially to the elderly and infirm.

“I’d love to give them more,” he said.

Over all, he seemed like a man on a genuine quest for redemption — or a very good liar.

“We know what we’re doing is wrong,” he said gravely. “I’m asking forgiveness from God, the whole world, anybody.”

And then his silver Nokia phone chirped yet again. He would not say what he needed to do, but it was time to go.

_____________________________ 1 – Casafree (Maroc)

Piraterie en Somalie : Les pirates somaliens tuent un marin à bord d’un navire indien détourné

Les pirates somaliens ont tué un marin indien et blessé un de ses collègues à bord d’un navire détourné il y a quatre mois, a affirmé dimanche la Direction de la navigation de l’Inde basée à Bombay.

« Les pirates ont abattu Sudhir Suman à bord du MT Sea Princess II alors que son collègue Kamal Singh a été blessé par balles. Le corps de Suman a été jeté dans la mer par les pirates le 26 avril », a indiqué la Direction dans un communiqué de presse.

Le navire, déjà relâché par les pirates, est parvenu, sain et sauf, au port d’Aden le 6 mai, selon la même source.