NATO continues its Budapest summit today, but the alliance has already provided a swift response to a UN plea for help tackling Somali pirates.
The World Food Programme’s aid supplies, on which it is estimated more than 40 per cent of the population depends on to survive, are preyed on by the pirates.
Now NATO is sending a flotilla of frigates in a bid to end their pillaging.
“Both the World Food Programme and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon have asked NATO for help to address these problems. Today ministers agreed that NATO should play a role. NATO will have its standing maritime group which is composed of seven ships in the region within 2 weeks,” said an alliance spokesperson.
Somalia has no working government and is powerless to stop the pirates, who have support from the shore and bases in the north of the country. This year at least 30 ships have been taken on the high seas, including a Ukrainian cargo loaded with weapons and tanks.
With mass unemployment there is no shortage of manpower for the pirates, who extract ransoms for the ships and crew. Some of the money may also be financing Somali warlords.