Somalia: Counter piracy project at stake as the chairman of Somalia’s anti-piracy agency arrested in Belgium

Mogadishu {Sunatimes} A success anti-piracy project in Central Somalia, which disengaged over 900 pirate men from the sea pirating faces eminent set back after the Belgium police arrested Mohamed Abdi Mohamed aka Afweyne, the chairman of Somalia Anti-Piracy Agecy (SAPA), who was running the project in central Somalia, an area formerly depicted as pirate haven.

Dozens of young men who formerly agreed to disengage themselves from piracy after Afweyne and his agency team convinced the started to vacate the demobilizations camps in Adado and Bahdo districts after the running costs of the camps stopped due to the financial run out of the mobilization program, which was funded by Afweyne’s business companies.

A former pirate, who disengaged from the piracy earlier this year told that he decided to leave the demobilization camp after he his colleagues convinced him that all of the would be arrested even if they are demobilized or reintegrated to the public.

“I am totally devastated by the deceitful action of the Belgium Government, they lied and arrested the person that convinced us to stop the dangerous business that we were involved in, the piracy, and I believe he is an innocent man criminalized by the western media” said the 19 years old boy, who started piracy when he was child of 16 years.

“Afweyne convinced us to stop piracy, he convinced us that it was a crime, it was shame, and he convinced us that it was damaging the image of Somalia, we stopped us, but we he is arrested as one of the criminals and sleeps in jail it means that the Belgium government wanted all the young men he disengaged to be in the high sea piracy” He added.

The former pirate believes that Afweyne was not involved in piracy, but his name was misused by the western media, which wanted to create a figure to depict him as the pirate kingpin.

The last two years, Afweyne was leading a successful-locally established antipiracy effort, which partially succeeded to release hostages, hijacked boats and disengaged nearly one thousands pirates from the dangerous business they were in the coastal areas in central Somalia regions.

The Somali Government nominated Afweyne, the owner and CEO of Central Air Company, an airline company that services both local and regional roots, as the chairman of Somalia Anti-Piracy Agency, and according to the Agency’s last reports he successfully ended the piracy in central Somalia, which endangered the Somalia coast, which about 30% of the world’s business ships use.

As Afweyne remains in the Brussels jail, the pirates he disengaged started to vacate the demobilization camps his antipiracy agency runs in central Somalia and hundreds of them may returned to the piracy business, which can endanger themselves or the sailors using the Indian Ocean marine lines.

Locals consider Belgium’s trick to arrest Afweyne and the former Himan and Heeb administration Mohamed Abdi Tiiceey, as a move negatively serving for the interest of those who wanted the piracy business to exist as long as Somalia remains without functioning government.

By Abdisalan Abdulle Yusuf

Mogadishu -Somalia


Original Article