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A leaked UN report on Somalia has alleged that much of the money received by the interim government has been frittered away. The allegations of such high-level corruption have shocked many, with estimates that around 70% of money intended for development and reconstruction in a country racked by 20 years of war was unaccounted for. The government, whose mandate expires next month, dismissed them as "absolutely and demonstrably false". But the 198-page report, published on the Somalia Report websiteand due to be discussed by the Security Council, contains many other revelations. Here are 10 other things we have learnt: 1: Floating armouries Map Some ships travelling through the Red Sea and around the east coast of Africa increasingly use private security firms to prevent pirates based in Somalia from seizing their vessels. ...read more.


It warns that unless a mechanism for international regulation, monitoring and inspection these facilities is established, there is a genuine risk that they will eventually become a threat to regional peace and security, rather than being part of the solution. There have already been several incidents when the arms have turned up in unexpected places, like in Mozambique where five police officers were found to have 62 weapons and ammunition belonging to one of the private security companies. Three British citizens were reportedly arrested in Egypt in April with a range of such arms, including laser-guided sniper rifles. 2: Pirates diversify Pirates have never been more active than in 2011, but the number of successful attacks has dropped dramatically - by 43% compared to 2010 - thanks to the increasing use of private maritime security companies, the report says. ...read more.


3: Pirates with passports How did a pirate leader get his hands on a red diplomatic passport? A growing number of the piracy fraternity are also members of the diaspora "whose foreign language skills, passports and bank accounts are all valuable assets", the report said. It also revealed the collusion of senior government officials in shielding a notorious "pirate kingpin" from prosecution by providing him with a diplomatic passport and describing him as a "counter-piracy envoy". It is alleged that Mohamed Abdi Hassan - known as "Afweyneh", meaning "Big Mouth" in Somali - is "one of the most notorious and influential leaders of the Hobyo-Harardhere Piracy Network". Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed admitted to the UN investigators that he had given Afweyneh diplomatic status as "one of several inducements intend[ed] to obtain the dismantling of his pirate network". ...read more.

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