Daily Nation (Kenya)
By Dave Opiyo
April 13 2009
In Summary: Mr Wetangula says the increase in piracy especially off eastern Somalia poses a real threat to trade in East Africa.
The Kenya Government has backed the use of force to dismantle piracy cells along the Gulf of Aden.
The cells are responsible for hijacking of ships in the Indian Ocean.
Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula said this option was the best at the moment, but it would not be viable in ending the menace in the long term.
“There’s no point in negotiating with pirates. We should fight these people… piracy must be ended in all its forms and manifestations.
“But as we do this, we should explore ways on how to deal with the root cause of this problem which is the instability of Somalia, a country which has not had a stable government for years,” he said at a news conference Monday.
“The existence of warlords in that country has indeed compromised security both inland and at sea. We must join hands with other countries having this common goal and end this once and for all.”
The minister spoke a day after the US Navy rescued an American captain of a ship that was captured last Wednesday by pirates off the Somali coast.
US navy snipers shot dead three pirates holding Captain Richard Philips, of the MV Alabama, in a dramatic rescue said to have been authorised by US President Barack Obama.
Mr Wetangula said the increase in piracy especially off eastern Somalia posed a real threat to trade in East Africa.
“Ships ferrying important cargo would definitely increase insurance premiums. This cost would ultimately be transferred to the consumers who will pay dearly. We must ensure that this is stopped.”
According to the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre, there have been 25 attacks on vessels off the coast Somalia resulting in seven hijackings this year – all of them since 1 March this year.
Since the beginning of April, the bureau has confirmed five attacks, with three vessels hijacked and some 74 crew taken hostage.