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Part 1: Disposition of Piracy Cases: The Context

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Chapter Summary

Somali-based piracy is a relatively recent phenomenon. Even though the Indian Ocean together with the Persian Gulf was a piracy hotspot between the 15th and 18th centuries, no major pirate activity developed around the Somali coast itself during this period. Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean emanate almost exclusively from Somali territory. Somalia is composed of 18 administrative regions. In south-central Somalia, many of the administrative regions are under the control of Al-Shabaab, a militant Islamic fundamentalist group that opposes the Somali Transitional Federal Government. Somali-based pirates only use parts of Somalia as the bases of their activity: Puntland and Mudug. Mudug is a region between Puntland and south-central Somalia whose administrative affiliation remains unclear, yet Puntland claims authority over its northern part and Galmudug administers its southern part. Somali-based pirates have taken over 3,000 seafarers hostage.

Keywords: Mudug; Puntland; seafarers hostage; Somali-based piracy



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