Militant groups robbing and kidnapping foreign nationals for ransom have grown into a proper organized criminal network with a hub in Nigeria running pirate operations with impunity, and the problem is getting worse and more widespread in the region, stifling development across the entire west coast of Africa, according to a pirate expert speaking to Alan Kasujja on Africa Daily. Pirates now control an area that reaches as far as 200 knots into international waters, and modern vessels now allow them to evade authorities. Last year, 130 of 135 maritime kidnappings worldwide occurred in the Gulf of Guinea.
The area gets less international attention that the key oil routes of the Straits of Hormuz and the Horn of Africa.
By Milan Sime Martinic