Seychelles: Good Student of Anti-Piracy is Struggling to Cope

10 years, 6 months ago - March 07, 2012
Modest already crowded jails Coast Guard largely poor: the Seychelles might be a good student of the anti-piracy, the Indian Ocean archipelago is clearly overwhelmed by the magnitude of the phenomenon.

The Seychelles have agreed since 2010 to try and detain Somali pirates. It is the only area to do with Kenya, which does not consider, however, more than dropper arrested suspects.

Get everyone to contribute

But the Seychelles authorities are calling for more international aid, faced with a phenomenon that continues to swell since the late 2000s. First, the surveillance of territorial waters and beyond is very random. "The Seychelles Coast Guard can not alone make the water safe, we need joint forces. If we can get everyone involved, I think our fight against piracy will be easier," said to AFP chief of the Seychelles coastguard, George Adeline.

During a visit of Chinese Minister of Defense Liang, last December in Victoria, the Seychelles authorities had "invited the Chinese government to install a military presence in Mahe (the main island of the archipelago), in order to fight against hacker attacks. "

U.S. drones

U.S. drones already leave the Seychelles to identify pirate vessels, which in recent years ventured deeper and closer to the islands, however remote over 1500 km from Somalia. Then, the Seychelles are far from having sufficient prison capacity. The 82 Somali pirates currently incarcerated in small prison Mahé alone represent 20% of the inmates of the institution. Aged for most of two decades, also strongly deny all be pirates.

"I pirate? No, fisherman, I fish for tuna," says one of their elders, Ali, in his fifties, sentenced to six years in prison for piracy and who now shares his time between his cell and work force the garden of the prison. The prison was opened four years ago, faced with the increasing number of inmates, says Marie Dathna, a babysitter, while, under the blazing sun, pirates held derive concrete blocks for construction of a new wall (Picture).

The most famous inmate of the prison is nicknamed " Six Toe Joe "(" Joe the six toes ") because of this rare physiological trait. He was captured by the Royal Navy in January, with 13 of his comrades, in possession of grenade launchers. "Seychelles is a state so small and it is already more than he can in the fight against piracy ", believes the British ambassador in that country, Matthew Forbes. The UK has seconded prison guards in Seychelles to provide training, and lawyers to follow procedures.

Regional Coordinating Centre

About seven out of ten pirates apprehended across the Indian Ocean are now released for lack of evidence, and countries willing to try them and incarcerate them, the UN says. The UN has just funded for this purpose last year renovating a prison in Somaliland (an independent entity from the rest of Somalia, and enjoying relative stability).

"The Seychelles are currently only the weight of incarcerating large numbers of pirates but the first group of Somalis convicted will be transferred to Somalia by the end of March, to facilities monitored by UN personnel , "says Mr. Forbes.Interpol, London and the Hague finally fund the creation, the Seychelles, a regional center of intelligence coordination against piracy. Once opened by the end of the year, he will be responsible to gather evidence against the occult financing networks.

"Those who are in prison receive only a pittance, compared to those in large cities, taking advantage of the ransom money. We need to discover more about who funds the piracy, to decapitate the organization ", hope Srdjana Janosevic , spokesman for the presidency Seychelles.

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