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VOA Provides Somalis with Exclusive News on Piracy


Coverage includes interview with captured pirate's father

Washington, D.C., April 20, 2009 - The father of a Somali pirate who is in U.S. custody tells the Voice of America's (VOA) Somali Service that his 16-year-old son is not a "troublesome boy" but he has been misled by gangs and money.

Abdilkadir Muse, the father of Abdiweli Abdilkadir Muse, condemned piracy, saying, "May God save those who are involved." In a telephone interview, the senior Muse said his son had been a student in Galkayo, Somalia. Muse, a nomad who spends time in the eastern part of Ethiopia, said his son lived with his mother.

"For someone who has not seen hunger in his house, who knows about the religion ... what causes him to go on the seas … the only thing I can think of is that because of his young age, he was led into mistaken action," the father said. "You would never expect things like these would be possible from him. He is not a troublesome boy."

The 16-year-old Muse was captured after U.S. Navy sharpshooters killed three other Somali pirates and rescued the captain of the Maersk Alabama, a U.S. cargo ship some 350 miles off the coast of Somalia on April 12, 2009.

The Muse interview is just one of the many stories VOA is reporting on during the piracy crisis. Somalis are receiving up-to-date news and information, participating in call-in shows, expressing their views and listening to exclusive interviews and analysis.

"There are an unknown number of pirates and they are not from one particular region of the country," said Abdi Yabarow, chief of VOA's Somali Service, which has interviewed Somali, U.S. and U.N. officials as well as Somali civilians.

Abdi Rahman Mohammed Farole, president of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland in Somalia, told VOA Friday that he did not support international troops pursuing pirates in Somalia, even though the U.N. Security Council has authorized anti-piracy operations on land.

Experts say some ransom money has gone to support people in Somalia, a poor country of more than 9 million people. Pirates have also claimed they have seized ships for allegedly dumping toxic waste in the oceans, but that claim has not been substantiated. More than 200 mariners are being held by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

VOA's Somali Service broadcasts three hours daily, seven days a week. Started in February 2007, the service - on AM, FM and shortwave radio and the Internet - has expanded its weekly audience to an estimated 66.4 percent in Mogadishu, the capital. VOA-s English-language website (www.VOANews.com) has covered the piracy issue extensively.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askvoa@voanews.com.


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