Piracy ransoms funding Somalia insurgency, Al-Shabaab. Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:42am EDT By Daniel Wallis. NAIROBI (Reuters) - An explosion of piracy this month off the coast of Somalia is funding a growing insurgency onshore as the hijackers funnel hefty ransom payments to Islamist rebels, a maritime official said on Sunday.
Click image of Osama bin-Laden to see video of Somalia "Al-Shabaab Pirates" hijacking a French cruise ship, or Click Here.
A record four ships were seized in 48 hours last week off the anarchic Horn of Africa nation, meaning Somali pirates are currently holding hostage four cargo vessels, two tankers and a tug boat, along with about 130 crew members.
The spike in attacks at sea has coincided with a rise in assaults on land by radical al-Shabaab insurgents, including the capture on Friday of Somalia's strategic southern port Kismayu.
The United States say al-Shabaab is a terrorist group with close ties to al Qaeda (see LA Times article August 25th, Al-Shabaab is Al-Qaeda). Experts say some of the businessmen and warlords who command the pirates are also funding the rebels. "The entire Somali coastline is now under control of the Islamists," Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told Reuters in an interview.
"According to our information, the money they make from piracy and ransoms goes to support al-Shabaab activities onshore, said Mwangura" Piracy has been rife off Somalia since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Experts say at least 30 ships have been hijacked off the coast so far this year -- and the attacks have hit unprecedented levels this month.
"It's crazy. We have never seen anything like it in our years of tracking them," Mwangura said. "They've broken all records for piracy in this region and indeed the whole world." Back in 2005, there were just five Somali pirate gangs, with fewer than 100 gunmen," Mwangura said.
"Now that youths who used to work as bodyguards for warlords or militia for the government see the rewards available at sea, our estimate is that there are between 1,100 and 1,200 pirates." Thursday -- a day before al-Shabaab fighters seized Kismayu following battles that killed at least 70 people -- was the worst day on record for piracy in Somali waters.
In the space of one day, gunmen hijacked a German cargo ship, an Iranian bulk carrier and a Japanese-operated tanker. That came after a Malaysian tanker laden with palm oil was seized in the same area on Wednesday. The pirates are also holding a Thai cargo ship, a Nigerian tug boat and a Japanese-managed bulk carrier Mwangura said the captors of the Nigerian vessel had demanded a $1 million ransom to free it and its 10 crew.
His organization advises all shipping using the area to maintain a strict lookout for pirates around the clock, and to be especially wary of any small boats that approach them.
SEE VIDEO; AL-SHABAAB TERRORISTS IN SOMALIA PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO OSAMA BIN-LADEN, CLICK HERE.
Al-Shabaab has a official website hosted in the USA at the Dotster Web Co, Vancouver WA see website Click Here.
Al-Shabaab has been boosting its forces in recent months with an influx of fighters from around the world, including Kenya, Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Indonesia, Chechnya and even the United States. Al Jazeera recently aired footage of a masked Shabab commander who called himself Abu Mansur al-Amriki and spoke with an American accent. His identity could not be confirmed.
The Dotster Web Co in Vancouver WA USA refuses to shut down the Al-Shabaab terrorist website (linked to Al-Qaeda) they site "Freedom of Speech", the Dotster is helping a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization, Al-Shabaaab, to recruit future foot soldiers and "pirates", Dotster Web Hosting Co in Vancouver WA is a terrorist facilitator. "Providing business services, even free ones, to al-Shabaab violates the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) in the US. Each IEEPA violation of carries a fine of up to $250,000."
"The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to freedom of speech and expression, and for that reason Dotster attempts to be very careful about balancing the rights of its customers with other concerns". (even terrorists).
kataaib.net = 220.127.116.11 IP Address
Kevin Kilroy, chairman of web hosting firm Dotster
8100 NE Parkway Drive
Vancouver, Washington, 98662 USA
Phone Number 1-360-253-2210
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