Somali FM calls for powerful gov't to tackle piracy

08:39, February 22, 2010      

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Somali Foreign Minister Ali Jama Ahmed Jengeli said on Sunday that the Horn of Africa nation needs a powerful government to deal with piracy.

"The way how to solve this problem of piracy is not attack them in the sea but on the homeland. We need a powerful government, " Jengeli told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

Jengeli was tasked with the mediation among various factions of Somalia and seeking international assistance. The foreign minister has always been bombed by questions about Somali piracy at international conferences or on other occasions since he took office one year ago. The issue has become a headache of Somalia, drawing increasing international attention.

He admitted that the piracy has become more rampant and well- concealed after many countries have sent warships to escort business vessels. "The problem is still there, that's why we need a comprehensive solution," said Jengeli.

According to the statistics form the International Maritime Bureau, the pirates in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia have attacked 214 vessels and abducted 47 ships in 2009 alone, accounting for a half of the global piracy cases.

In Jengeli's opinion, Somali piracy was closely related to the long-lasting civil war and anarchy in the Horn of Africa country.

"The (Somali) government is more weak, piracy more rampant, that is the reason," said the top diplomat.

The damage brought by internal strifes in Somalia could not be healed in short time, although the African Union (AU) has sent thousands of peacekeepers here since 2007 to help the Somali transitional government rebuild the country.

Jengeli said the international community, including China, has rendered many assistance to Somalia. He hoped more help can come to the country.

"Well, we are building our security force. We know the AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) have limited mission and sooner or later they are going, so that is why we are building. We have a long way to go and are working hard on building strong security which can protect the country and bring lasting peace," Jengeli said.

Somalia has been plagued by civil strife since 1991. Civilians have become victims of the endless fightings and the escalating violence.

The AU had initially announced to send 8,000 soldiers for the Somalia mission, but currently there are only less than 5,000 troops mainly contributed by Uganda and Burundi. The peacekeepers have struggled to make an impact in Somalia, while at the same time they are targeted by Islamist insurgents seeking to regain power from the government forces.

Source: Xinhua
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