Home / International / World Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
UN Calls for Global Action to Curb Rampant Piracy in Somalia
Adjust font size:

The UN World Food Program on Sunday appealed for high-level international action to stamp out piracy in waters off Somalia, warning that the flow of relief supplies to the country was under severe threat.

In a statement issued in Nairobi, the world's largest humanitarian lifeline said increased piracy off the coast of Somalia is threatening its ability to fee millions of hungry Somalis.

"We urge key nations to do their utmost to address this plague of piracy, which is now threatening our ability to feed one million Somalis," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in a statement.

The appeal followed the killing of a Somali guard who helped repulse a new pirate attack on Saturday on a ship that had just delivered WFP food assistance to the Somali port of Merka.

Consequently, the agents of a WFP-contracted vessel early Sunday refused to allow the ship loaded with food to sail for Somalia.

"This attack underscores the growing problem of piracy off Somalia which, if unresolved, will sever the main artery of food assistance to the country and to the people who rely on it for their survival," warned Sheeran.

"Unless action is taken now, not only will our supply lines becut, but also those of other aid agencies working in various partsof Somalia."

WFP said shipping is the main and fastest route it uses to move large amounts of agency's food to Somalia.

In this latest of a series of pirate attacks, the Jordanian-registered MV Victoria sent out a distress call when it came under attack on Saturday from pirates aboard boats about 60 nautical miles from Merka, south of Mogadishu, en route to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam after discharging 4,000 metric tons of WFP food.

The owner relayed the message to the Merka agent of the Somali contractor who chartered the Victoria to carry WFP food." He sent out guards in two boats who intercepted the pirates before they could board the ship.

One guard was wounded in an exchange of fire and later died in Merka hospital. The Victoria returned to Merka port after the attempted hijacking."

"WFP is very saddened and alarmed by the death of the guard, who showed great courage while the ship came under attack. We send our sincere condolences to his family," said Sheeran.

Despite major operational and security challenges, WFP said it continues to deliver food to thousands of vulnerable Somalis. Last Friday, WFP began a new round of distributions to a total of 122,500 people forced to flee fighting in Mogadishu.

It said distributions are continuing in the Somali capital as well as in Baidoa to the northwest, Afgoye west of the capital, Brava town and Qoryoley district southwest of the capital. Pirates have hijacked at least five ships off Somalia this year, including two in the past week.

Several unsuccessful attacks have also been recently reported.

In 2005, a similar upsurge of piracy in Somali waters, including the hijacking of two WFP-chartered vessels, forced the UN agency to suspend all deliveries of WFP food assistance by sea to Somalia for weeks.

The UN estimates that between 300,000 and 400,000 people fled Mogadishu since February 1.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Somali Pirates Seek Dialogue with UN Officials
- UN Offices in Jowhar Taken over by Somali Militia
- Somali Pirates Free Filipino Captives
- UN to Set up New Camp for Somali Refugees in Kenya
- UN Peacekeepers Come To Somalia's Aid
Most Viewed >>
> Korean Nuclear Talks
> Reconstruction of Iraq
> Middle East Peace Process
> Iran Nuclear Issue
> 6th SCO Summit Meeting
- China Development Gateway
- Foreign Ministry
- Network of East Asian Think-Tanks
- China-EU Association
- China-Africa Business Council
- China Foreign Affairs University
- University of International Relations
- Institute of World Economics & Politics
- Institute of Russian, East European & Central Asian Studies
- Institute of West Asian & African Studies
- Institute of Latin American Studies
- Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies
- Institute of Japanese Studies