Somali coast pirate wars escalate

The Indian navy announced Dec. 13 it had captured 23 Somali and Yemeni pirates while coming to the defense of an Ethiopian-flagged merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking before a Bahrain conference sponsored by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies, called for international action against the pirates.

“Under the United Nations Security Council resolution passed last week, members of the international community must work together to aggressively pursue and deter piracy,” Gates told the Manama Dialogue conference, promising US “continuity” and “commitment” to the region.

The US currently has six naval vessels from the Fifth Fleet in waters off Somalia, while US allies have another six to eight ships in the region. The European Union earlier this month authorized deployment of a naval task force off Somalia, where pirates have attacked more than 32 ships, seized 12 of them and taken 230 crew members hostage since October. (AFP, Bloomberg, Dec. 12)

See our last post on Somalia.

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