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AFRICA > Somali gov’t gives pirate impunity

NAIROBI - Reuters

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Somalia’s president has shielded a top pirate leader from arrest by issuing him a diplomatic passport, according to a United Nations investigation which criticizes the “climate of impunity” enjoyed by pirate kingpins.

The U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia said in a report to the Security Council that it had obtained evidence a diplomatic passport had been provided “with the authorization of Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed” to pirate leader Mohamed Abide Hassan “Afweyne,” who presented it to authorities in Malaysia on a trip there in April. Questioned by Malaysian immigration, Afweyne provided a document issued by the Somali presidency stating he was involved in counter-piracy activities, the report said. It said that Somalia’s President Ahmed had told the Group the passport was “one of several inducements” for Afweyne aimed at obtaining the dismantling of his pirate network.

In a July 12 letter to the Chairman of the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee, Ahmed called the contents of the report “one-sided.” The letter said the author of the U.N. report “seems hell bent on soiling the good names of ... Somali people by throwing at them unsubstantiated allegations.”

July/19/2012

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