24 November 2012

Somalia: EU Naval Forces Destroy Alleged Pirate Skiff After Lack of Evidence

Mogadishu — EU Naval forces patrolling Somalia's coast stated that they destroyed an alleged pirate skiff off the coast of Somalia and released the alleged pirates on the Somali coast, Garowe Online reports.

European Union Naval forces captured the alleged pirate skiff 420 nautical miles east of Mogadishu after a pursuit that nabbed 9 alleged pirates.

Lieutenant Commander Jacqueline Sherrif stated that there wasn't sufficient evidence to prosecute the suspected pirates.

According to the Stars and Stripes media outlet, a Swedish air patrol reported a "suspicious" skiff that led to the Romanian frigate in Somali waters to send a Turkish boarding team that arrested the suspected pirates.

The EU naval officials failed to state whether or not the 'suspicious' skiff was carrying weapons. However the EU officials stated that there was no fishing gear on board the skiff.

Lt. Sherrif stated that destroying the skiff would hamper the efforts of the pirates, since the forces did not have sufficient evidence.

But the lack of evidence to press charges has raised the doubts of some Somali fishermen who according to officials of the Puntland Ministry of Fishery have been victims of 'mistaken identity' at the hands of naval forces.

"I have been interrogated and held by Naval forces patrolling Somali waters and I know fishermen who have not returned from those interrogations," said Abdullahi Mohamed, who gave up his profession of fishing after his friends did not return from a fishing expedition.

According to Somali piracy analysts in Puntland, the international intervention in Somali waters has put a strain on the independent fishing industries that has already been affected drastically by piracy.

The EU is planning to conduct an antipiracy initiative in 2013, strengthening judiciary and coastal protection capabilities of nations in the Horn of African and the Indian Ocean.

Garowe Online

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