Somali Pirates Being Driven Back to the Seas By Drought and Famine: U.S. Commander
Somali Pirates Being Driven Back to the Seas By Drought and Famine: U.S.
Pirates in Somalia are being driven to the seas by a devastating drought, says the top U.S. military commander in Africa.
General Thomas Waldhauser, the head of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), said food shortages in Somalia were contributing to the resurgence in piracy.
Moreover, these particular ships have been very small in statute and really a lucrative target for pirates,” said Waldhauser at a briefing with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at Camp Lemonnier, a U.S. naval base in Djibouti, which neighbors Somalia.
More than 6 million people require humanitarian assistance, with 2.9 million living in areas that are at heightened risk of famine, according to the United Nations.
Somali pirates hijacked a Comoros-flagged vessel carrying fuel in early March, the first time that pirates had taken control of a commercial ship in the region since 2012.
But since then, pirates have successfully hijacked at least another four vessels off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, a channel that experiences a high volume of commercial maritime traffic.
Pirates have launched a spate of attacks off the coast of Somalia in recent months.
The AFRICOM commander also urged civilian shipping companies to increase security measures in order to deter pirates from trying to launch attacks.
President Donald Trump recent authorized a Pentagon request granting additional authorities for U.S. airstrikes in Somalia, The U.S. has launched at least 42 strikes in Somalia in the past decade, killing at least 300 people, most of whom the Pentagon has claimed were militants but a fraction of whom were reportedly civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.