Thursday, 29 September 2011

Nigeria and Benin join forces to tackle piracy

Nigeria and neighbouring Benin have begun collaborating on patrolling its waters in order to combat the threat of pirates. This year, the Gulf of Guinea has seen a marked increase in attacks.

A military crew of almost 100 people from the two West African nations embarked on three patrol boats and four fast-attack crafts.

In August, a London based insurance group rated the coast in the same high-risk category as Somalia. According to the International Maritime Bureau there have been 19 attacks off Benin's coast this year. The Bureau also said that no such incidents were reported in 2010.

Head of Nigeria's western naval command, Emmanual Ogbor, said that a no-nonsense approach from his ships has forced the pirates into areas where they can operate more easily.

The joint patrol efforts will initially be in place for six months and involve six Nigerian ships and helicopters with the Beninois contributing two vessels. A Benin's navy spokesman said pirate activity scared ships away and thereby affected the country's economy.

Sources: BBC News, AFP, Nigeria Observer

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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