Indian Ocean islands ask European Union aid to fight piracy

Indian Ocean islands of the Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion have asked the European Union for aid to fight piracy:

Kampala – Five Indian Ocean island states are working together against the commercial threat of Somali pirates, and have requested military and financial aid from the European Union, the foreign minister for the Comoros said in Kampala Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the final day of the African Union summit in Uganda, Fahmi Said Ibrahim Maceli said the pirates are threatening investment opportunities and pushing up insurance costs for countries in the Indian Ocean.

The Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mauritius and the French territory of Reunion are working on ways to solve the problem because the “pirates are striking ships as far as the Comoros,” Maceli said.”The pirates are invading into far off areas and are threatening the Comoros.

We are concerned. The Comoro government is negotiating with the other four countries in the Indian Ocean to have a common solution,” the minister said. “We have already asked the EU to help us. In order to handle this problem, we have asked for funds and military equipment.

We want to act quickly bearing in mind that piracy is a big problem. It has hiked insurance costs and affected tourism in the region,” he added. Pirates mainly from war-torn Somalia have in recent years increased attacks on ships in the waters of the Indian Ocean, forcing several countries to deploy war ships in the waters right up to the Gulf of Aden.

The AU summit began with pre-conference meetings on July 19th under the theme of maternal, infant and child health and development – but has been largely overshadowed by regional security concerns, particularly the civil war waged by the Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia who are battling both the AU peace-keeping forces and the government in Mogadishu.

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