The fight against pirates ravaging shipping off Somalia is to be stepped up, with action on both land and sea. The surge in piracy this year has seen dozens of vessels hijacked with millions demanded in ransom.
Now the United Nations has authorised attacks on the pirates at sea, and raids on their land bases, subject to official Somali consent. However Somalia’s almost total collapse as a functioning state means there is no meaningful government, so consent may not mean much. The pirates have paralysed sea lanes around the Horn of Africa, forcing ships to make the journey to and from Asia via the Cape of Good Hope. International naval patrols have produced few results, prompting the decision to take the fight ashore.