Norway ‘wasting money’ on Somali pirates / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner Norway ‘wasting money’ on Somali pirates. Norway’s financial contribution to solving the Somali pirate problem could be having the opposite effect, according to their spokesperson. Andrew Mwangura, Co-ordinator for the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme and ransom deal negotiator between ship owners and pirates, was one of the speakers at yesterday’s “Piracy Wake Up” international conference in Bergen. He believes Norwegian money is directly improving conditions for pirates.Unsecured sponsorship “It’s ironic, but Norway finances them with its foreign aid. The pirates are now also using fishing vessels donated by Norway and other Nordic countries to carry out their hijackings, I have seen it with my own eyes,” Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports.

somalipirates, andewmwangura, ransommoney, piracywakeupconference, unhcr, unsecuritycouncil



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Norway ‘wasting money’ on Somali pirates

Published on Wednesday, 16th March, 2011 at 15:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 26th March 2011 at 20:43.

Norway’s financial contribution to solving the Somali pirate problem could be having the opposite effect, according to their spokesperson.



Andrew Mwangura, Co-ordinator for the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme and ransom deal negotiator between ship owners and pirates, was one of the speakers at yesterday’s “Piracy Wake Up” international conference in Bergen. He believes Norwegian money is directly improving conditions for pirates.

Unsecured sponsorship

“It’s ironic, but Norway finances them with its foreign aid. The pirates are now also using fishing vessels donated by Norway and other Nordic countries to carry out their hijackings, I have seen it with my own eyes,” Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) says Norway has paid Somalia up to one billion kroner in aid since 2006; part of it has funded training and equipping local police. Norway and the US fund arms imports via the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) “Rule of Law and Security” programme.

However, a report by the UN’s Monitoring Group on Somalia to the Security Council shows the scheme has contributed to weapons smuggling, “in violation of the general and complete arms embargo imposed in 1992, at a fairly steady rate.”

Moreover, the police skills and weapons then pass directly to the hijackers, according to Mr Mwangura.

“Police would rather become paid pirates or Somali faction members because they have not been paid a salary for several years after having completed their training.”

Norwegian pirate researcher Stig Jarle Hansen alleges, "members of the Saad sub-clan are overrepresented in the police and well-represented among the Somali pirates. Many of them that have been trained thanks to Norwegian foreign aid have probably become pirates,” he tells DN, criticising Norway for its policy of not ensuring the police are paid.

Financial risk

Meanwhile, Minister of Defence Grete Faremo has expressed Norway may be sending a frigate to the Indian Ocean to help vessels sail safely in the Gulf of Aden by the end of this year at the earliest. The operation will cost approximately 200 million kroner, according to NRK.

Mr Mwangura warns this will only escalate the conflict, believing this “is a waste of public money. It will have the opposite effect and force pirates to change from being an ‘ordinary’ lawless operation to organised criminals.”

He also discounts the benefits of having armed personnel aboard Norwegian-registered ships. Hundreds of crewmembers from 47 ships are currently being held hostage, and at least 500 million kroner is paid out in ransoms each year.

“Armed diplomacy can never solve the problem in Somalia.”

Deputy Director for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), Frode Overland Andersen, tells DN in an email that, "we are not aware of any connection between police training and piracy," adding the UD knows of cases where individual Somali policeman have joined Al-Shabaab.

The Ministry has taken these allegations seriously, which have had consequences for the programme.




Published on Wednesday, 16th March, 2011 at 15:00 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 26th March 2011 at 20:43.

This post has the following tags: somalipirates, andewmwangura, ransommoney, piracywakeupconference, unhcr, unsecuritycouncil.





  
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