Danger Room: Torture Allegations Could Escalate Piracy War

04.02.11

Categorie: David Axe, Naval, Piracy, Somalia, Wired |
Tags: ,

Pirates and hostages

Pirates and hostages. Navy photo.

by DAVID AXE

Let’s be perfectly clear: Somali pirates are not nice people. In a decade of banditry on a steadily-expanding slice of East Africa ocean turf, AK-47-armed sea thugs have attacked thousands of vessels, captured hundreds and held their crews for up to a year a time. It costs governments and shipping companies up to $12 billion a year to avoid or defend against the pirates — and to pay ransoms for ship’s crews that can’t flee or fight.

But for all their criminal behavior, Somali pirates have not gone out of their way to directly hurt or kill seafarers — until now.

In recent weeks, there have been reports that some pirates are “torturing” their hostages. Contrast this with 2009, when one pirate told Wired’s Scott Carney that “hostages — especially Westerners — are our only assets, so we try our best to avoid killing them.”

If the reports of torture are true, the implications are serious for the loose alliance of governments struggling to contain Somali piracy. In the grand scheme of things, pirates are not actually a huge threat to the global order, although their regional effect is pretty severe.

Read the rest at Danger Room.

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2 Responses to “Danger Room: Torture Allegations Could Escalate Piracy War”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by War is Boring, Non Nobis Domine. Non Nobis Domine said: RT @warisboring: Danger Room: Torture Allegations Could Escalate Piracy War http://is.gd/uMSP78 [...]

  2. Nate says:

    Looks like the original article you linked to disappeared.

    So, what are we going to do about it? It’s obvious by now (if it wasn’t before) that naval action is not going to stop Somali piracy. When are we going to start working on an effective strategy for taking away the pirates’ havens?

    Invading Somalia is out of the question, but surely there are measures that we could take between outright invasion and the hands-off approach that we have now?

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