The U.S. navy handed over 17 suspected Somali pirates to Kenya on Wednesday, taking the number of such captives in prisons along the east African country’s coast to 111. Kenyan police say the influx of suspected Somali pirates is clogging jails and congesting local courts and they would like foreign navies patrolling the shipping lanes off Somalia to start taking captives to other countries.
“We are looking at ways in the near future to have the pirates either charged in Seychelles, Egypt or Djibouti due to congestion,” Sebson Wandera, the provincial CID operations chief, told reporters in the port city of Mombasa. He said the latest arrivals would be taken to a court in Malindi, further up the coast from Mombasa towards Somalia, and if suspected pirates continued to flood into Kenya they may have to be taken to the capital Nairobi.
International navies trying to curb piracy off lawless Somalia are often reluctant to bring suspects to their own countries because they either lack the jurisdiction, or fear the pirates may seek asylum. The European Union, United States and some other countries have instead struck agreements with Kenya to leave suspects to face trial in east Africa’s biggest economy. Some pirates are being prosecuted in France and the Netherlands.
In Kenya, 10 pirates are serving a seven-year jail term at a prison in Voi, near Mombasa.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS