In an article published by the Guardian newspaper, a Somali pirate gave an interesting perspective of piracy on the Somali coast. He was interviewed by Xan Rixe and Abdiquani Hassan
“We consider ourselves heroes, the interview started. Asad Booyah Abdulahi describes himself as a pirate boss and says his job is capturing ships off the Somali coast.
“I am 42 years old and have nine children. I am a boss with boats operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
I finished high school and wanted to go to university but there was no money. So I became a fisherman in Eyl in Puntland like my father, even though I still dreamed of working for a company. That never happened as the Somali government was destroyed [in 1991] and the country became unstable.
At sea foreign fishing vessels often confronted us. Some had no licence; others had permission from the Puntland authorities but did not want us there to compete. They would destroy our boats and force us to flee for our lives.
I started to hijack these fishing boats in 1998. I did not have any special training but was not afraid. For our first captured ship we got 300,000 US dollars. With the money we bought AK-47s and small speedboats. I don’t know exactly how many ships I have captured since then but I think it is about 60. Sometimes when we are going to hijack a ship we face rough winds, and some of us get sick and some die.
We give priority to ships from Europe because we get bigger ransoms. To get their attention we shoot near the ship. If it does not stop we use a rope ladder to get on board. We count the crew and find out their nationalities. After checking the cargo we ask the captain to phone the owner and say that have seized the ship and will keep it until the ransom is paid.
We make friends with the hostages, telling them that we only want money, not to kill them. Sometimes we even eat rice, fish, pasta with them. When the money is delivered to our ship we count the dollars and let the hostages go.
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