Somali Pirates Are Using Human Shields

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Somali pirates are using human shields:

Piracy continues to thrive in northern Somalia (mainly Puntland). Last year, some 40o ships were attacked, and about a thousand civilian sailors were captured and held for ransom. Over $100 million in ransom was paid, after ships and crews were held, on average, for five months. At least a third of the captive sailors were abused in some way. About a third have been used as human shields, on smaller cargo and fishing vessels used as mother ships. All this causes little uproar in the West because most of the captured sailors are Indian or Filipino.

The pirates are increasingly carrying human shields on their mother ships, thus protecting themselves from attack by the anti-piracy patrol. However, the warships have taken to shooting up the speedboats (used for the actual attacks on merchant ships) towed behind the mother ships. This will force the pirates to haul the speedboats onto the mother ships (usually fishing ships or small cargo vessels).


  1. Goober says:

    I am a horrible person for saying this. I suck, I really, really do. Deep breath. Okay, here goes…

    Human shields wouldn’t be used if it was shown that they do not work. I am of the opinion that the best way to protect innocents from being used as human shields in the future is to not allow them to work in the present. Sink the damn boats. It wouldn’t take many for the practice to stop, because it is more trouble than it is worth once it no longer serves a purpose.

  2. Isegoria says:

    I believe that was the Soviet answer to terrorists taking hostages, and it worked, in its own way. That and they didn’t fund terrorist groups to attack their own citizens.

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