Somali Transitional President Urges More Foreign Help To Fight Piracy


Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, president of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, said Wednesday that his country needed more financial and military support from abroad to fight terrorism and piracy.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day Marine Counter Piracy Conference, which runs in its 2nd edition in the Gulf Arab Emirate (UAE) of Dubai, the widely internationally recognized Somali president said that his country was suffering immensely from piracy.

“Criminal acts from pirates range from illegal fishery, violent seizure of foreign cargo ships, killings and rape. Our country suffers economically and our civil society is terrorized and humiliated.”

The Transitional Federal Government of Somalia has been fighting since 2006 against Al Shabaab insurgents. In August 2011, the government forces managed to force the Shabaab militia, regarded by the United States as an affiliate of the Al-Qaida network, completely out of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

However, Al Shabaab still controls most of south of the East African country and support pirates groups in the Gulf of Aden. Since August 2009, NATO naval forces have been deploying military ships to the region in order to protect cargo vessels against attacks from pirates groups.

President Ahmed said that piracy was not a national or regional problem but a global challenge, citing figures compiled by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

According to the IMB, annual financial losses to global trade are estimated at 12 billion U.S. dollars due to piracy. In the first quarter of 2012, 13 vessels were hijacked and 197 seafarers were held in captivity. “If the international community is serious about fighting piracy, then it must us more vessels, more technical and military support and more money.”

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed expressed his thanks to the conference hosts, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dubai’s port operator DP World, for bringing foreign ministers and senior government officials from more than 50 countries as well as CEOs of global, maritime-related companies together in order to find solutions against piracy.

Dr. Anwar Mohamed Gargash, UAE Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, said in his welcome address at the summit that the UAE will continue to support the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in their fight against insurgents. Gargash said the UAE will immediately pledge one million U.S. dollars to the Somali Naval forces in order to upgrade their efforts against piracy.


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