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The BCR Somme hands over the 5 pirate suspects to Puntland

(BRUSSELS2) It was finally towards Bossasso, in Puntland (semi-autonomous region of Somalia) that the BCR Somme headed to deliver the 5 men who had committed the imprudence of'attack the Alindien's flagship – the commander of French forces in the Indian Ocean.

This solution was preferred to repatriation to France, which was too complicated politically (1) and difficult legally. In any case, there was a serious problem with material evidence. Neither weapons nor provisions had been found on board the skiff; the Somalis having thrown everything on board. This is the fourth time that France has handed over suspects to the Puntland authorities. (As usual), a Puntland Coast Guard boat approached the French warship to take charge of the prisoners.

Puntland, “federal” region of Somalia. Located in the northeast of Somalia, near Somaliland, this region claims not a split from Somalia, but its autonomy within a federal framework. It wants to have its own flag and its own emblem and is developing a coast guard corps which could be one of the solutions to piracy. If officially no contact exists with this region – European support for the central government obliges – in fact contacts do exist. And from time to time the military (NATO, EUNAVFOR, national) are in contact.

A future coastguard corps. As testified by a French soldier returning from the region, “even if we must take some of their statements with caution, we nevertheless sense on the part of the Puntland authorities a clear desire to fight against piracy ". And Christian Ménard – French UMP deputy, from Châteaulin (Brittany), author of a very interesting maritime piracy report who has just returned from a visit of a few days to Djibouti with the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche – agrees. “ I really believe in the Coast Guard. We must encourage and support the authorities of Somaliland, particularly Puntland, to train coast guards and equip themselves. The establishment of regional training centers in Sanaa (Yemen), Djibouti and Dar-el-Salaam (Tanzania) is an excellent thing, which Europe should quickly support. Funding must be released ».

(1) France still has a man taken hostage in Somalia.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).