As Reported HERE
LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - Piracy in the Red Sea may be becoming a "multinational" business with Yemenis joining Somalis in the lucrative crime, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.
"We are also seeing ... perhaps a new business model occurring in the Red Sea and things that we have traditionally labelled exclusively Somali piracy may in fact be multinational piracy," the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, said.
Pirates involved in last month's killing of four American hostages on a yacht seized near Somalia were both Somalis and Yemenis, while Yemenis were on board a pirate ship recently captured by a Danish warship, he said.
"We may be seeing a situation, as yet unconfirmed, where we have individuals from several nations on the periphery, from states that are not governed well ... being involved in piracy," Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Carson told reporters in London.
Yemen and Somalia are both riven by poverty and instability and are bases for militant groups.
The growing pirate threat to key supply routes in the Indian Ocean has prompted powers including Russia, China, India and Japan to send warships, working loosely alongside Western task forces including those of the European Union, NATO and United States.
But Carson said the problem of Somali piracy would not be resolved on the high seas. "We recognize that the area of the Red Sea is enormous and that you can put hundreds of boats out there," he said.
The problem could only be resolved "by ending the impunity that exists on land. It will only be resolved when Somalia has a government with a security force, a police apparatus, a court system and laws that allow it to prevent and prosecute pirates who seek to carry out activities offshore," he said.
Somalis also needed alternatives to piracy to earn a living, he said. (Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Louise Ireland)