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Somalia: Puntland Response to Seychelles-Kenya Pirate Smuggling

Government of Puntland State


7 September 2009

Somalia: Puntland Response to Seychelles-Kenya Pirate Smuggling

On Sunday, 6 September 2009, two light aircraft landed illegally at an abandoned airstrip about 12km south of a small village called Gara’ad located on the Indian Ocean coastline, particularly Puntland State territory near the southern boundary with central Somalia. The two planes were carrying 23 pirates who are believed to have been exchanged for three sailors from the Seychelles Islands. The Seychelles natives were taken hostage by pirates in Feb. 2009 in Somalia territorial waters. The 23 pirates were previously captured by international naval forces and imprisoned in Seychelles allegedly for acts of piracy and were transported from captivity in the Seychelles Islands by an airplane to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, where the transaction was facilitated by elements involved in pirate smuggling and ransom transfers.

The facilitators, who were on board the planes along with the pirates, have revealed to Puntland investigators that the 23 pirates boarded the two light aircraft at JKIA after getting off the Seychelles airplane in plain sight of Kenya Police in complete uniform.

The Puntland Minister of Civil Aviation, Hon. Ahmed Elmi Osman, was informed that the two aircraft were transporting a cargo of humanitarian aid supplies to the people of Puntland. However, the two light aircraft landed without permission at the abandoned airstrip in Gara’ad where a group of pirates were waiting to welcome their friends and to exchange them with the three hostages from Seychelles.

Information about the true nature of the operation was leaked to Puntland authorities. After leaving Gara’ad, the two light aircraft landed at Galkayo Airport at approximately 5:30pm local time to refuel ahead of a planned return trip to Nairobi. However, Puntland police and immigration officials at the Galkayo Airport arrested 10 persons with different nationalities who were on board the two planes. These persons, who were involved in pirate smuggling and ransom transfer, had no legal clearance to land in Puntland and are now under criminal investigation.

Unlike the U.S., French and Egyptian governments, who used proper and legal channels to deliver alleged pirates to Puntland, it seems that the governments of Seychelles Islands and Kenya consented to smuggle pirates across international airports and to drop them off in Puntland illegally. Furthermore, notorious ransom facilitators were used in this illegal operation which underscores the international dimensions of piracy today.

The two light aircraft are currently grounded at Galkayo Airport and Puntland police are conducting a thorough investigation. The 10 crew and passengers, who are under police custody at a guesthouse in Galkayo, will be brought in front of a Puntland court of law after the conclusion of the ongoing police investigation. Puntland Government remains unwavering in its opposition to ransom payments and its commitment in the fight against piracy.

The list of people on board the two light aircraft who are clandestinely involved in this illegal operation are as follows:

  • Title: Name: Nationality:
  • 1. Captain Joe Micheal Mwangi Kenya
  • 2. Co-pilot Elmi Hussein Elmi Kenya
  • 3. Captain Graham Alexander Australia
  • 4. Co-pilot Peter Kamore Kenya
  • 5. Facilitator Shueb Abdulhabib Adam Kenya
  • 6. Facilitator Robin Denys Gould-Musgrave United Kingdom
  • 7. Engineer Alex Mwangi Kenya
  • 8. Hostage Gilbert Andre Victor Seychellois
  • 9. Hostage Wilfranc Conrad Andre Seychellois
  • 10. Hostage Robin Marcel Samson Seychellois


Xafiiska Madaxweynaha
Dowlada Puntland ee Somalia

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