Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Somalia’s president, has granted amnesty to hundreds of young Somali pirates to reduce the threat to shipping in the seas near the Horn of Africa, a senior regional official said, according to Reuters.
The amnesty will not apply to bosses running the gangs responsible for hijackings, a second official close to Mohamud said.
“The president gave amnesty to 959 pirates from my region today,” said Mohamed Aden Tiicey, president of Somalia’s Adado region, where large numbers of unemployed youths have been recruited as pirates.
“The manner in which young men and boys have been sent to sea by organizers who have made huge profits suggests that the piracy leaders have little regard for those they employ and this initiative is likely to be for self-interest,” said Alan Cole, regional director for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s counter-piracy program, to a Reuters reporter.
The country’s civil war, which began in 1991, allowed piracy to flourish in the Gulf of Aden and deeper into the Indian Ocean.