|Kenya, US Agree to Deal on Piracy|
27 January 2009
Kenya and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow pirates captured off Kenya's coast to be tried in Kenyan courts. The international community has been searching for ways to prosecute pirates since the rate of attacks in the region spiked, last year.
US will hand over captured pirates to Kenyan government
|Ambassador Michael Ranneberger (file photo)|
"Piracy is a serious threat to security in our part of the world. Because of this piracy, the insurance premiums for goods that are coming into our country have gone up substantially, so it is increasing the cost of our trade. And, therefore, we say that we are going to cooperate with the international community to deal with this issue of piracy," said Odinga.
Pirates have captured more than 40 ships
Last year, more than 40 ships and 800 crew members were hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of East Africa. Since November, the rate of attacks has slowed as the United States, European Union, China, and other countries have sent ships to patrol the area. But the question of how to prosecute captured pirates has been a tricky one.
|Raila Odinga (2007 file photo)|
Britain has already reached a similar agreement to hand over pirates to Kenyan authorities. Eight pirates detained last year are facing charges in the Kenyan port city, Mombasa.
African and Middle Eastern countries are holding a meeting in Djibouti, this week, with the aim of improving laws to combat piracy.