Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Official Attack On-Land by Atalanta

Within the last few days, the EU finally agreed to attacking alleged Somali pirates on land and on 15th May, were the first air attacks since the ambit of Atalanta was widened. It has been reported that speed boats, step ladders, fishing nets and mobile phones were destroyed.

In a press statement, the Mission Head of Atalanta said that air attacks were launched to destroy pirates’ supplies on land. He stated that, "Whilst assessment is on-going, surveillance of the area during the action indicates that no Somalis were injured ashore as a result of EU action."

In March EU Ministers extended Operation Atalanta until December 2014 and spoke about wanting to extend Atalanta's "area of operations to include Somali coastal territory as well as its territorial and internal waters".

Initially Austria, Spain and Germany described this as 'mission creep', but last week all countries finally agreed to what they said is a 'temporary mandate'. A special mandate had to be passed through the German parliament for this to happen.

The 'EUNAVFOR – Operation Atalanta: Disruption of pirates’ logistics in Somalia' can be read here.

The result was today's first official land-based attack.