Pirates transfer agreement ‘solves global problem’


04-April-2012

Discussing the proposal for prisoner transfer on the sidelines of the London Conference on Somalia (photo by GT)

World media on Friday widely called the transfer of 17 convicted Somali pirates from Seychelles to a jail in Somaliland as a breakthrough.

They noted the move was possible because President Michel and President Silanyo signed the agreement, after separate talks during the London Conference on Somalia last month.

“These first transfers of their kind could help resolve a dilemma over where to hold criminals seized in international waters,” said one widely published report which noted international navies have been fighting a surge of pirate attacks that have disrupted a vital shipping route off the coast of lawless Somalia and deep into the Indian Ocean.

“It has long been unclear where pirates captured on the high seas should be imprisoned, particularly while Somalia itself remains locked in chaotic conflict.

“The United Nations helped move the pirates from a prison in the Seychelles to Somaliland on Wednesday and another eight on Thursday following the agreement signed in London last month between the leaders of the two territories,” said the media.

Britain's Africa minister Henry Bellingham said the transfer represents an important step forward in ensuring pirates are brought to justice.

Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991, enjoys relative peace and stability, and analysts hope it might be a good site for more incarcerations in the future.

The head of Somaliland's Anti-Piracy Taskforce Mohamed Osman said Somaliland's increasing usefulness in the fight against piracy is helping the enclave's bid for international recognition of its independence.

"As long as states are reaching agreements and signing memorandums of understandings with us, and global bodies are funding us, these are clear sign of de-facto recognition," Osman said.

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