US ready to support African states in war against Somali piracy


TANZANIA (eTN) – The United States is looking at appropriate measures that would help African states to fight Somali piracy in the Indian Ocean waters.

During her three-day visit to Tanzania, the the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration is currently reviewing its policy against piracy to get the exact answer that would draw the American security system to join the war against Somali piracy in the eastern coast of the Indian Ocean.

Tanzanian President Mr. Jakaya Kikwete said there were 27 Somali piracy attacks in Tanzania’s Indian Ocean waters during the past 15 months with the arrest of 11 suspected pirates. Four ships were seized by the pirates, with only two ships rescued by the Tanzanian navy.

The Tanzanian president admitted that Somali piracy had brought and increased economic hardship to Tanzania as scores of ships diverted their eastern routes along the Indian Ocean to other destinations.

Clinton promised that the US government will work closely with Tanzania and other African countries in looking for a solution to the problem of Somali piracy. On the other side, tourism through cruise ships has been badly hit by the Somali piracy along the eastern coast of Africa, with some cruise ship companies canceling their itineraries to Africa.

Lack of military equipment to combat piracy has been a big issue in which Tanzania and other African states, which share the Indian Ocean waters on the eastern coast of Africa were looking to address to Obama administration.

Acquisition of a bigger ship to sustain surveillance in the deep sea, coupled with sustained training of the army personnel, could improve the situation to clear the mess on the eastern coast of the region, Mr. Kikwete said.

Piracy has affected the flow of trade in the region since the collapse of the system of government in Somalia.

Political problems in Somalia had propelled piracy, targeting cargo freights, which were forced to take much longer routes, resulting in the increase of marine transportation costs.

Mrs. Clinton, who arrived in Tanzania with her delegation last weekend, left for Madagascar where she is to conclude her tour of the African continent.