SUDAN WATCH: MV Faina cargo was for Ethiopia? NATO agrees to join anti-piracy operations off coast of Somalia: seven of its frigates will arrive within two weeks

Thursday, October 09, 2008

MV Faina cargo was for Ethiopia? NATO agrees to join anti-piracy operations off coast of Somalia: seven of its frigates will arrive within two weeks

Washington accuses Asmara of supporting "terrorist groups" in Somalia. Eritrea slams US over arms ban. NATO agrees to join anti-piracy operations off coast of Somalia, seven of its frigates will arrive within two weeks. MV Faina's cargo in Somalia destined for Ethiopian army? Details in the following reports.

Aljazeera report, October 09, 2008 - Nato joins Somalia piracy fight - excerpt:
"There will soon be Nato military vessels off the coast of Somalia, deterring piracy and escorting food ships," James Appathura, Nato's chief spokesman, said on Thursday.

"Piracy is a serious problem for shipping in that area. It is also an immediate threat to the lives of the people in Somalia," he said.

Nato said the seven frigates from a group that was to have taken part in an exercise in the Suez Canal region would arrive off the Somali coast within two weeks in response to a request from the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The force, which currently consists of destroyers from Italy and the United States, frigates from Germany, Greece, Turkey and Britain and a German auxiliary vessel, will stay in the region until at least December.

MV Faina standoff

Six US warships have already been deployed in the area and have surrounded the Ukrainian MV Faina amid fears that its weapons, including 33 battle tanks, might fall into the hands of armed groups in Somalia.

However, a spokesman for the pirates has said that the vessel, which has 20 crew members on board, could be released within days if the $8m ransom was paid.

"We are open for give-and-take negotiations," Sugule Ali, a spokesman for the pirates, told The Associated Press news agency.

He also said that the Faina's crew were holding up well despite their ordeal.

"Their chef still prepares their food for them," Ali said. "They are healthy and have no worries. But of course their only worry is when they will gain their freedom. Their feeling is typically that of hostages - no more, no less."

Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman from the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said the navy was in regular contact with the crew and would not allow the pirates to offload the weapons.

Mark Caltar, a piracy expert and operations director of Olton Solutions, told Al Jazeera that the payment of any ransom would be a win for the pirates and a loss for the United Nations.

"What we have here is an epidemic, a plague of piracy," he said. "If people ... see that the pirates around Somalia can get away with this now, and six US warships are hanging around doing absolutely nothing, then you are encouraging piracy on a global status."

The United Nations Security Council earlier this week called on countries to send naval vessels and military aircraft to support anti-piracy efforts.

The call came after European Union countries said they would launch an anti-piracy patrol, and Russia announced it would co-operate with the West in fighting the pirates. 

Somalia's transitional government, which is under pressure from near-daily attacks by armed opposition groups, has given foreign powers the freedom to use force against the pirates. [end of report]
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Hijacked arms cargo in Somalia destined for Ethiopian army?

The following report excerpts suggest that the hijacked Ukrainian vessel MV Faina and its cargo may end up being destroyed, and that the cargo could have been destined for Ethiopia.

September 30, 2008 ( report by Shuun Isaaq - Hijacked arms cargo in Somalia destined for Ethiopian army - excerpts:
Recent unflattering international reports of a Ukrainian cargo ship hijacked by militias loyal to the current parachutist government of "Somalia" from the region formerly known as Majertenia and now dubbed as "Pirate (Puntland) State of Zoomalia" reminds Somalis of the dangers which encircle them on a daily basis.

What the firestorms of speculations by media collusively failed to investigate is the correct destination of weapons bought "legitimately" from Ukraine through Ukrainian weapons brokers. Although first major reports claimed the purchase was made by South Sudan rebels, or by the Khartoum government. More recent analysis by Somali experts is growing intensely and may lead to the eventual destruction of the ship along with its cargo. [cut]

Speaking from London, a former manager of a major Kenyan haulage company from Mombassa Samir Yasin ridiculed accusations of South Sudan connections. Revelations were made this week that such cargo to be heading to South Sudan prompting the SPLA to strongly deny such claims. SPLA may have used Ukrainians based in Dubai to broker and drop light weapons such as grenades and assault rifles by air. However, never to delver a huge consignment of tanks and modern Russian ammunitions by cargo ship specially through mainland Kenya.

The same media quickly ran errands this time provoking the Kenyan army and the East Africa division lately built by America to fight against an apparent "terror networks" in the horn of Africa. They also distanced themselves from this consignment, although they confirm the ships destination to had been Mombassa. This leaves the main culprit Ethiopia, as the sole destination of reported weaponry since it is not common sense to deliver to the Khartoum government using the Indian Ocean.
Hat tip: Ethiopia -, October 06, 2008
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Eritrea slams US over arms ban

Washington announced the ban on Monday, accusing Asmara of supporting "terrorist groups" in Somalia.

Source: Mail & Guardian Online - ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA Oct 08 2008 - Eritrea slams US over arms ban

Hat tip: Ethiopia -, October 08, 2008
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Related report

October 08, 2008 - Sudan Watch:
A businessman from Odessa with an Israeli passport is the man behind Russian tanks shipment destined for Govt of South Sudan (GOSS) via Mombasa?
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[Cross posted today, Oct 09, 2008 at sister site Ethiopia Watch]



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