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History of Somalia

During the Siad Barre regime, Somalia received aid from Denmark, Great Britain, Iraq, Japan, Sweden, USSR and West Germany to develop its fishing industry. Cooperatives had fixed prices for their catch, which was often exported due to the low demand for seafood in Somalia. Aid money improved the ships and supported the construction of maintenance facilities.After the fall of the Barre regime, the income from fishing decreased due to the Somali Civil War.

Also, there was no coast guard to protect against fishing trawlers from other countries illegally fishing and big companies dumping waste which killed fish in Somali waters. This led to the erosion of the fish stock. Local fishermen started to band together to protect their resources.Due to the clan-based organization of Somali society, the lack of a central government, and the country's strategic location at the Horn of Africa, conditions were ripe for the growth of piracy in the early 1990s.

Precise data on the current economic situation in Somalia is scarce but with an estimated per capita GDP of $600 per year, it remains one of the world's poorest countries. Millions of Somalis depend on food aid and in 2008, according to the World Bank, as much as 73% of the population lived on a daily income below $2. These factors and the lucrative success of many hijacking operations have drawn a number of young men toward gangs of pirates, whose wealth and strength often make them part of the local social and economic elite. Abdi Farah Juha who lives in Garoowe (100 miles from the sea) told the BBC, "They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day. [...] They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns."

Some pirates are former fishermen, whose livelihoods were hurt by foreign ships illegally fishing in Somali waters.After seeing the profitability of piracy, since ransoms are usually paid, warlords began to facilitate pirate activities, splitting the profits with the pirates. In most of the hijackings, the bandits have not harmed their prisoners.

The Transitional Federal Government has made some efforts to combat piracy, occasionally allowing foreign naval vessels into Somali territorial waters. However, more often than not, foreign naval vessels chasing pirates were forced to break off when the pirates entered Somali territorial waters.The government of Puntland has made more progress in combating piracy, evident in recent interventions

Ashutosh (C/O)

Seafarer

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