Briefing Room

US Officials: Pirates Back in Waters Off Somalia

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with officials Sunday at a military base in the African nation of Djibouti, near the Gulf of Aden, before telling reporters that the presence of the United States in the country “respects their sovereignty.”
Mattis was joined by Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, who addressed concerns that pirates have returned to the waters off Somalia.
Waldhauser said there have been about six pirate attacks on vulnerable commercial ships in the region in the past several weeks, but the spike in attacks on commercial shipping does not yet constitute a trend.
“We’re not ready to say there’s a trend there yet,” said Waldhauser, adding that he views the spurt of attacks as a response to the effects of drought and famine on the Horn of Africa.

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