Just When You Thought Things Couldn’t Get Any Worse in Somalia… Sky Pirates

IMG_0926Not content with bringing shipping lanes to a standstill off Somalia, gunmen are now intent on snagging European passengers from flights in and out of the lawless country and holding them for ransom. Yusuf M Hasan has written a gripping account of the thwarted hijacking of a flight from Bossaso, Puntland, to Djibouti…

Diyaarada way afduuban tahay. The four words, screamed by a mad man wielding a pistol in mid-air, are etched into my memory like lyrics in a veteran singer’s mind. This plane is hijacked.

The pilots turned the plane around and landed, pretending it was the destination the hijackers had demanded. Shots were fired but no-one was hurt. The passengers had no doubt about what the hijackers wanted…

The hijackers say they wanted to take two hostages – German journalists on board the plane – and that the rest of us Somalis would be set free in Las Qorey.

Security is rudimentary at most Somali airports. A few dollars in the right palms would make it easy to carry guns on board. In fact, I’m rather surprised this doesn’t happen more often. The limiting factor may well be the small number of westerners who risk flights in and out of the country.  (It might be time for the UN to reconsider its ban on journalists buying seats on its flights to and from Somalia.)

What does all of this mean? I have no idea. But it can’t be good.

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