- The Lobby
- Extra Times
EU carries out first strikes on Somali pirates
The European Union’s naval force off the Somali coastline yesterday carried out its first air strikes against pirate targets on shore, officials said.
Maritime aircraft and attack helicopters took part in the attacks early in the morning on the mainland, a spokesman said. No casualties were reported in the raid, which occurred along Somalia’s central coastline in the region of Galmudug.
The long coastline of war-ravaged Somalia provides a perfect haven for pirate gangs preying on shipping off the East African coast.
The EU is the main donor to the Somali transitional government. It is also trains Somali army troops, and is reinforcing the navies of five neighboring countries to enable them to counter piracy themselves.
“This action against piracy is part of a comprehensive EU approach to the crisis in Somalia, where we support a lasting political solution on land,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Since December 2008, the EU has kept 5-10 warships off the Horn of Africa in an operation known as Atalanta. NATO has a similar anti-piracy flotilla known as Ocean Shield, and other countries — including the United States, India, China, Russia, and Malaysia — also have dispatched naval vessels to patrol the region.
The EU naval force is responsible for the protection of World Food Program ships carrying humanitarian aid for Somalia, and the logistic support vessels of the African Union troops conducting operations there. It also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia, which has been without a functioning government since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown.
In March, the EU adopted a more robust mandate for its naval force, allowing it for the first time to mount strikes against pirate targets on Somalia’s “coastal territory and internal waters.” At the time, officials said the new tactics could include using warships or their helicopters to target pirate boats moored along the shoreline, as well as land vehicles or fuel tanks used by the pirates.
The EU did not say which member nation’s forces carried out the day before yesterday’s raid.
But two months ago, the Atalanta force was joined by French amphibious assault ship Dixmude. The 21,000-ton ship, the largest to serve with the EU mission, is capable of acting as a mobile operating base for 16 choppers — including Tigre helicopter gunships — significantly adding to the reach of the naval force.
Responsible Right of Expression — In the interest of freedom of expression, coupled with a true sense of responsibility to encourage community dialogue, the Macau Daily Times offers its readers the opportunity to express their opinions on new-related matters through this website. All opinions are welcome. However, we reserve the right to remove comments that are deemed to be obscene, or are merely insults written under the cloak of anonymity. MDT
- HUMAN RESOURCES | The business battleground: “Companies have to make the career path clearer”
- Medical sector faces difficulties in attracting overseas experts
- Easter celebrations at the Cathedral in three languages
- EDUCATION: Former Harvard scholar shares learning experience with students
- Macau International Jazz Festival kicks off today
- Raising a child at sea “is as healthy as in any other place”
- BRIEFS: GCS releases press law consultation report
- Father of comatose girl collects residents’ signatures
- Residential mortgage loans drop by 41.7pct
- Spring book fair kicks off
- Catholic weekly with Filipino editor and English supplement
- Doctors to apply for license after one-year internship
- Measures announced to control pollution in Ka Ho
- DSRT reaffirms liberalization of TV services but provides no timeframe
- Wynn declines as analyst cites risk of drop in VIP bets