Two terror groups are allegedly getting “material support” from two Somali pirate kingpins, who are under investigation by the United States and the United Nations, according to a report.
Mohamed Garfanje, an influential leader of the Hobyo-Harardhere Piracy Network, is accused of helping al Shabaab and the Islamic State in Somalia — two groups that reportedly don’t get along — smuggle weapons across the Gulf of Aden, CNN reported.
Garfanje, a suspect in the 2012 kidnapping of journalist Michael Scott Moore, is still conducting pirate attacks, watchdog organization Oceans Beyond Piracy said.
CNN did not name the other pirate leader suspected of aiding ISIS in Somalia with weapons. The watchdog group believes the kingpin was involved in recent pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, which is located between Somalia and Yemen.
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An Oceans Beyond Piracy report states that piracy incidents and armed robbery at sea in West Africa have gone up from 54 in 2015 to 95 last year.
And in East Africa, the watchdog group says although there were no hijackings recorded in 2016, there were 27 recorded pirate incidents.
OBP also recorded that 12 pirate attacks have occurred off Somalia’s coast this year.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis visited the U.S. military base in Djibouti, a small East African country, in April and Marine General Thomas Waldhauser said the U.S. is aware of Somalia’s increase in piracy, according to Reuters.
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“The bottom line is there have been a half-dozen or so (incidents),” Waldhauser acknowledged at a press conference at the base. “We’re not ready to say there is a trend there yet but we’ll continue to watch.”
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