VIGILANTES

Somalis Take On Pirates

Pirates in the treacherous waters near Somalia don’t just target tankers and cruise ships, they also harass smaller fishing vessels, including those captained by their fellow countrymen. Sick of the attacks at gunpoint, some of the fishing communities of Somalia have taken the law into their own hands and formed vigilante militias. One fishing village said it had captured three boats carrying 12 men with weapons. The vigilante groups, formed by village elders, say they will hand over suspected pirates to the Somali government, which recently passed harsh anti-piracy laws that allow the death penalty for those convicted. Many Somali pirates are said to be former fisherman who left the trade after large commercial operations ruined their livelihood. However, the pirates apparently feel no solidarity with those who still try to make a living by fishing.