AU pleads for un help

PLEA: African Union chairman Jean Ping. 20/11/08. © Unknown.
PLEA: African Union chairman Jean Ping. 20/11/08. © Unknown.

MOGADISHU - The United Nations should send peacekeepers to Somalia urgently to stop the strife that is fuelling piracy, which is being aggravated by feuding politicians, the African Union's top diplomat said yesterday.

MOGADISHU - The United Nations should send peacekeepers to Somalia urgently to stop the strife that is fuelling piracy, which is being aggravated by feuding politicians, the African Union's top diplomat said yesterday.

Gunmen from the chaotic Horn of Africa country grabbed world headlines with Saturday's spectacular capture of a huge Saudi Arabian supertanker loaded with $100million worth of oil, the biggest ship hijacking in history.

Jean Ping, chairman of the African Union Commission, said the increasing piracy was "a clear indication of the further deterioration of the situation with far-reaching consequences for this country, the region and ... international community".

The scores of attacks in Somali waters this year have driven up insurance costs for shipping firms, and even made some companies divert cargo around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope.

Norway's Frontline, one of the world's biggest oil tanker owners, said yesterday it was "definitely considering" avoiding the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal because of piracy. - Reuters

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