28 May 2010

Somalia: Nato Commanders Meet Puntland Officials Off Bossaso

Officials from Somalia's Puntland state got opportunity to interact and discuss with the Commander of the NATO Task Force, Commodore Steve Chick and his team who are patrolling the waters off Somalia as part of NATO's counter-piracy operation, code-named Ocean Shield.

The meeting took place on board NATO flag ship HMS CHATHAM, which was anchored few miles off Bossaso port, the commercial capital of Puntland..

According to Abdi Ali Hirsi (Qarjab), the governor of Puntland's Nugal region, the commander and his team briefed officials on NATO's and the other counter piracy forces, including the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to fight piracy.

"25 officials from Bari, Karkaar, Nugal and Mudug regions of Puntland attended the meeting and we critically analyzed the anti-piracy mission," Qarjab said.

"The NATO officials informed us that they would be meeting Puntland public and government including the president who is currently out of the country," he added.

NATO, which has fleets in Somalia's coastlines has established a working relationship with Puntland in an attempt to uproot piracy off the Horn of Africa.

Somali pirates have carried out more than 300 attempted attacks on foreign vessel since the beginning of 2009, a record high compared to 2008.

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