Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Questions are now being asked among former military officers whether the captured Somali pirates ought to be killed at the high seas or captured and brought home to face justice. This is indeed a difficult question to answer, and I suppose the navy commandos and the RMN ship captain would have been confronted with the same question before they finally came to a decision to have the captured Somali pirates brought home.

Now that the seven captured pirates are here and have been brought to the magistrate’s court for remand hearing on Monday, what would be the subsequent action and for how long would they be here to face trial that would be at public expense.

From my personal point of view (which may differ from the views of others) I think the solution would be to have them dump at the high seas, rather than take them home as prisoners. I know this may not be to the liking of some, especially those that are passionate and advocates of human rights. But please remember that these pirates are known for their violence and would not stop to kill others to achieve their aim. It is just lucky that none of the ship’s crew were hurt, and including the navy commandos. And it was reported that ‘Somali pirates are holding at least 25 ships with more than 600 hostages and have made millions of dollars hijacking ships in the past’. Are these not examples of dangerous precedence’s.

As a Special Forces unit, the navy commandos are trained to kill and taking prisoners is not a likeable option, especially if there has been a firefight, and the commandos are of the full knowledge that the pirates are dangerous. The fire fight itself is a clear indication of willful resistance, and the only solution to quell such resistance is to silence the pirates off by killing them. I do not know if there is any international convention or laws that the commandos have to abide when engaging the pirates in high seas. And if there was one, certainly there would have been an international outcry as to the way the Australians, Koreans and Malaysians had acted against the pirates.

Some have argued that rather than take these captured pirates home, it would be better to hand them back to the Somali government. I would have a second thought about this argument simply because there is no proper government in place in Somali today. Had there been a proper government, pirates would not have been roaming freely off the Somali and for all you know, the activities of these pirates are sanctioned by the Somali government. For those who had served in Somalia during the troubled times will understand the true nature of the Somali people.

Now that we are saddled with the problem of putting these pirates to justice, let’s hope that the police will do a thorough investigation that will see them being charged, prosecuted and obtain a correct judgment speedily. Police investigation and prosecution of several cases in the past has not survived the courts, and I fear the same will happen to these pirates.



Major (Rtd) D.Swami said...

Pirates have been dealt with throughout the ages, with death. The special forces who captured the pirates were criminally placed at risk, when our attack helicopter, after expanding 600 rounds did not kill off any of the pirates. After all that is the purpose of an attack helicopter. I have served in Somalia under Chapter 7, they only understand brute force. There was one incident, I will not mention names, one Malaysian patrol was fired upon, the Malaysians returned fire, something like 20 over Somalis were killed. The Force Commander was of course very unhappy. After that incident the Somalis used to place their weapons on the ground whenever they saw the Malaysians. There were many other incidents. The other likely reason they were not killed off like in the Al Maunah case, was that these pirates were Muslims. Maybe.The Russians and Indians always killed off the Somali pirates. They have become very unattractive targets for the Somalis. That, one must ponder upon.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Swami,

I don't think religion has anything to do with the commandos not wanting to kill off the pirates. Remember the Mamali incident? It was our police field force (predominently Malays)that did the killing. And who are the victims? Malays of the Muslim faith.
In short, brutality knows no boundry.

wira said...

The use of overwhelming force in the face of armed pirates in any situation is certainly legitimate and neccessary. However, to shoot down in cold-blood is cowardly and barbaric, to say the least.
I suspect the reaction of the Somali pirates upon coming face to face with the PASCAL was to throw down their arms, very similar in style to their land-based militiamen. (especially when confronted by Malbatt troops).
This is the only plausible explaination to the lack of KIA.
Further,their rag-tag and un-soldierly appearance probably reflect their lack 0f fighting spirit.
Simply because we are accustomed to seeing brutal vigilante style killings by the police does not mean that our PASCAL should behave in similar manner?
In fact, the incident clearly showcase the positive attributes of the MAF.
Of course anyone immersed in parochial views would straight away look at religion as a probable cause.
But one that is rasionale will instinctly know that religion has no part in the equation.
Once again, I salute the RMN PASCAL for their professionalism.