Pirate plane pandemonium in Puntland

Over the weekend some confusing stuff happened with the Somali pirates, Kenyan customs and a bunch of hostages from the holiday islands of Seychelles.

The Seychelles government organised a prisoner swap, sending an airplane of 23 captured pirates to Somalia via Kenya in exchange for three Seychelles citizens who were taken hostage from their yacht.

Only problem is they forgot to tell the government of Puntland, an autonomous part of the collapsed state known as Somalia — ruled incidentally by an Australian Somalian academic from La Trobe University.

The Puntland police impounded the aircraft and detained ten people who were on board — including the three hostages and two mediators from Kenya and Britain. The sneaky pirates had left the scene free men already.

Now it seems that the Puntland government are taking the somewhat embarrassing situation to another level, blaming those they arrested. The BBC report that deputy interior minister Yusuf Ahmed Khayr says the organisers of the hostage swap are criminals,

He said the men aboard the planes would be charged with a number of offences, as the 23 pirates had been brought to Puntland illegally and had been deposited in a place that had no legal landing strip.

The Somali media say their attitude is based on a need to present a strong front against piracy. Horseed media says,

Puntland Government remains unwavering in its opposition to ransom payments and its commitment in the fight against piracy.

While the coverage of the incident is more comprehensive now, on Monday it was totally baffling and mixed up with reports from Kenya. In fact it was so confusing that I couldn’t even figure out what had happened. Thus no blog post. Annoyingly enough the stories I was going to tear to pieces have since been updated and are now much better. Oh the power of online reporting.

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