Thursday, January 22, 2009

A look inside the Puntland Coast Guard

Abdiweli Ali Taar with members of the Puntland Coast Guard
(Maclean's photo)

Jonathon Gatehouse, a senior correspondent with Canadian news magazine Maclean's, has written an in-depth feature about the head of the Puntland Coast Guard. Titled "This cabbie hunts pirates", it introduces readers to Abdiweli Ali Taar, a Somali-Canadian who drove a taxi and worked in a clothing store - among other jobs - while living in Canada. He now commands a force in the northeastern Puntland region of Somalia that includes four small vessels and some 210 militiamen, each of whom Gatehouse says earn $400 a month.

It's a well-written and timely article about those Somalis attempting to do something about the maritime crimes plaguing their waters off their homeland, though it should be noted that the organization that Taar heads has come under criticism in the past for some of the actions of its men. For more on the situation, read British expert Roger Middleton's October 2008 briefing paper that can be downloaded at the Chatham House website, by clicking here.

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