So­mali of­fer of amnesty to pi­rates

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - AFRICA -

MO­GADISHU: So­ma­lia’s pres­i­dent has of­fered amnesty to young pi­rates in a bid to end at­tacks off the Horn of Africa na­tion’s coast, he said.

“We have been ne­go­ti­at­ing with the pi­rates in­di­rectly through the el­ders,” said Pres­i­dent Has­san Sheikh Mo­hamud. “Piracy has to end.”

Mo­hamud, elected by law­mak­ers six months ago, said he wanted to of­fer an “alternative means of earn­ing a liv­ing” to young So­ma­lis who have taken up the gun to join pi­rate gangs.

How­ever, Mo­hamud said that the amnesty was not open to pi­rate king­pins – those who take the big­gest prof­its from the at­tacks – some of whom are wanted by In­ter­pol.

“We are not giv­ing them amnesty, amnesty is for the boys,” he said.

So­ma­lia has been rav­aged by con­flict since 1991 but a new UN-backed government took power in Septem­ber, end­ing eight years of tran­si­tional rule by a cor­rup­tion-rid­dled ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Large parts of So­ma­lia have been carved up by ri­val mili­tia forces who have devel­oped au­tonomous re­gions that pay lit­tle, if any, heed to the weak cen­tral government.

Many of the most no­to­ri­ous pi­rates are based along the north­ern coast­line of the semi- au­tonomous Punt­land re­gion. – Sapa-AFP

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