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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pirates who took the Faina Are offloading Weapons

This is an exerpt from Doug Farah's Blog.

Note that the Pirates are trying now to offload what every they can from the Faina


“The Islamists have sent pick-ups from Mogadishu to go and collect the gear,” said an analyst with a network of Somali informers. “There’s not much they can do with the tanks — they can’t get them off — but the rest of the weapons they are trying to move ashore.”

Somalia’s insurgents have made a series of impressive gains in recent weeks. They now control the port city of Kismayo and have armed and equipped pirate gangs as part of a campaign to control the seas.

So, radical Islamists supporting piracy that yields not only large amounts of wealth, but obstructs a major world sea lane, while at the same time effectively starving much of their own population by making it virtually impossible to deliver humanitarian aid to the region.

And, while the government of Kenya claims the shipment, including the tanks and other sophisticated weaponry, were for its army, it seems at least a good chunk were actually destined for southern Sudan.

I would like to see the end-user certificate for the transaction. Using a flag of convenience ship to send weapons to one of the world’s most volatile regions, and making no efforts to insure the safe passage, despite a record number of hijacking in the very same waters, seems just a bit reckless.

The Islamists, of course, are looking for weapons. The Russians, as we have increasingly seen, are not overly concerned about where their weapons end up, be it Iran, Lebanon, Venezuela or, in the recent past, Mogadishu.

Pirates, of course, look to acquire merchandise of value and resell it. They are part of the facilitating network. If we were willing to pay $20 million, they would likely give the weapons to the U.S. navy. It really doesn’t matter to them, as long as their profits hold up.

This from the Washington Times


Andrew Mwangura, a director of the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Program, said shipping documents and other sources indicate that in the past two years, Ukrainian arms dealers have made four shipments of tanks and heavy weapons to southern Sudan via Kenya. Mwangura's organization has contacts among shippers and Somali clans, and has provided accurate information in the course of the hijacking.

Radio France Internationale said it had reached the Somali pirates aboard the Faina by satellite telephone Monday, and aired a recording of a man pledging to fight back if the Americans or anyone else attacked.

"Ships and troops have surrounded us," said a man identified by RFI as pirate Sugule Ali. He spoke in Somali.

"There's a lot of unusual movement surrounding us, and planes are flying overhead," the man said. "I warn anyone who might be tempted by any military operation or use of force, if we're attacked, we'll defend ourselves, until the last one of us dies."

The man repeated a demand for $20 million in ransom for the release of the ship and the crew. He did not say whether the pirates intended to keep the arms, apparently discovered by the hijackers only after they took control of the vessel.

The crew members number 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one person described as either Latvian or Lithuanian.

One crew member, Viktor Nikolsky, spoke to Kenyan officials over the weekend and told them the Faina's captain had died of "hypertension," the independent Russian news Web site reported.

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