U.S. Navy SEAL commandos deployed to the Horn of Africa have refined hostage rescue to a lethal art. But their recent success in retrieving kidnapped Westerners comes at a cost. Every rescue forces Somali criminals and terrorists to change their own tactics. The result is an arms race of sorts as SEALs and kidnappers try to stay ahead of the other. Aid workers, journalists and ship’s crews — the usual targets of Somali ransom plots — are caught in the middle.
Archived posts from category ‘Piracy’
In this video posted to Liveleak yesterday, an English-speaking shipboard private security team fires upon, and apparently wounds or kills, at least two groups of pirates attempting to hijack what seems to be a large tanker ship. The incident probably occurred off the Somali coast.
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Don’t accuse Texas of being gun-shy. This morning, the Lone Star State commissioned the second out of six armored gunboats now being sent to the Rio Grande to fight Mexico’s drug traffickers. According to press reports, the Texas Department of Public Safety — state police who also oversee the Texas Rangers — [...]
Pete’s Africa Round-Up
Soldiers killed seven youths over the last few days. The incident occurred in Vavoua, some 450 kilometers away from Abidjan. As a young man tried to avoid a roadblock of the national army — which many Ivorians accuse of leveraging illegal taxes and tolls at such roadblocks — he was chased by soldiers and beaten to death. The next day, some hundred local youths marched towards an army camp, armed with clubs and rifles. In what authorities described as “losing control,” some of the soldiers started shooting and killed six further young men.
A campaign of kidnapping that began at sea with Somali pirates has expanded onto land and across Somalia’s borders. Pirates and their allies in the Somali terror group al-Shabab have begun targeting tourists and aid workers in Kenya and Puntland, a mostly self-governing region in northern Somalia.
In two years of operations, a Virginia-based maritime security company has escorted commercial vessels through pirate-infested East African waters 300 times without incident. Nexus Consulting Group of Alexandria’s impressive record is the latest evidence of a surprising turn in the five-year-old international war on Somali pirates. More and more, for-profit security guards are taking over from the world’s navies on the maritime front lines.
The tide seemed to turn in an instant. After six months of fighting and thousands of NATO air sorties, the Libyan civil war rapidly reached its endgame late last month, as internationally-backed rebel fighters stormed Tripoli.
In December, a vessel with four men aboard eased into the port of Massawa in the East African country of Eritrea. It was an unplanned stop. The ship, operated by Protection Vessels International, a British company, had encountered rough weather and run short of fuel while sailing through pirate-infested waters around the island of Romia.
It was a normal morning in April last year. Normal, that is, by the crazy standards of the fishermen, ship’s crews, navy sailors and Somali pirates plying their dangerous trades on 2.5 million square miles of lawless ocean stretching from India to Kenya.
In a bloody, chaotic, early-morning spasm on Feb. 21, Somali pirates killed four American missionaries captured three days earlier aboard the yacht Quest. The U.S. Navy responded, killing two pirates and seizing 15 live pirates.
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN In February, Somali pirates kidnapped four American yachters near Oman. The pirates, pursued by U.S. warships, then fled with their hostages in the captured 58-foot S/V Quest toward Somalia. Four days later, as the yacht sailed closer to the pirates’ base, a confrontation broke out. A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at the destroyer USS Sterett. [...]
Dutch Marines Shoot Somali Pirates
by ANDREW BALCOMBE Last weekend, Dutch navy forces conducting anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia intercepted a hijacked Iranian fishing vessel. Fire was exchanged and some of the pirates were killed and wounded. RNW has more: Two Somali pirates were killed in an operation by the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp on Saturday morning. The [...]