Sunday, April 12, 2009

Somali Syndrome

This Reuters story on the dramatic rescue of the Captain Richard Phillips from his pirate captors bugged me.

For the most part it was a straightforward account.
U.S. Navy rescues captain, kills Somali pirates

The U.S. Navy shot dead three Somali pirates and rescued cargo ship captain Richard Phillips on Sunday from a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia where he was being held captive, ending a five-day standoff.
But near the end, the article almost seems to be lamenting the end of the "peaceful pirate" era (bold added):
Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of Mombasa-based East African Seafarers Assistance Program, said the rescue would change the stakes in future pirate attacks.

"This is a big wake-up to the pirates. It raises the stakes. Now they may be more violent, like the pirates of old," he said.

So far, pirates have generally treated hostages well, sometimes roasting goat meat for them and even passing phones round so they can call loved ones. The worst violence reported has been the occasional beating and no hostages are known to have been killed by pirates.
The "occasional beating?"

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