The Pirates of Somalia

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 September, 2011, 12:00am


The Pirates of Somalia
by Jay Bahadur
Pantheon Books (e-book)

Whether or not the risks were worth it, Jay Bahadur can be proud of the book that resulted from his 2008 trip to Somalia to, as he says, render in colour the black-and-white news depictions of high-seas hijackings now common in the area. A recent university graduate, the Canadian figured it would be his way of breaking into journalism, knowing full well the dangers he faced in the self-governing Puntland region of Somalia where he was heading. But Bahadur did well to hook up with the son of the newly elected president, Abdirahman Farole, which gave him access to sources. For the book - which looks at everything from who gets what when ransom is paid, to clan loyalty - he spoke to officials, former hostages and soldiers, as well as to pirates themselves. One is Boyah, who boasts of having hijacked more than 25 ships before his arrest and tells how he recruited other pirates. Like others in the trade, Boyah trots out the tired reason behind rampant piracy - that overfishing has stripped fishermen of their livelihoods.