No story about Somali pirates is complete without a suitably bloodcurdling quote from a cutlass-wielding Jack Sparrow wannabe. Luckily for journalists there are plenty of Somalis willing to pretend to be pirates spokesmen for us to choose from.
Following the kidnapping of Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British couple sailing from Seychelles to Tanzania, the pirate PRs have been out in force. By my count 11 people has so far claimed to be spokesmen for the pirates and had their quotes faithfully recorded in the western media.
Here’s your rundown of pirate spokesmen. Must rush, I’m waiting on a call from a pirate spokesman who goes by the name Abu Sharati.
Nor Abdiwali in The Independent
“Anyone who tries [a] rescue will kill the ones they want to rescue,” said Nor Abdiwali, who claims to be the commander of the group holding the Chandlers, in an interview with The Independent yesterday. “Our guns will randomly exterminate them. We are not afraid and we [have] kept them in a safe place,” he added.
Mohamed Shakir in The Independent
According to one report a “pirate leader” called Mohamed Shakir called from Haradheere to say: “We have captured two old British people, a man and a woman in the Indian Ocean. They were on a small boat that we have hijacked. The people are healthy and they are in our hands.”
Abdinor in The Guardian
A spokesman for the pirates, who identified himself only by his first name, Abdinor, said the couple would be moved to a ship anchored off the coast of Somalia. He said it would be safer for the couple to be kept on a ship with other hostages.
Hassan in The Times
A pirate called Hassan said: “We warn them any attack on us, this is a good advice for them, otherwise they will burn their two people’s bones. If warships surround us, we shall point our guns at the British tourists. They are old and we will take care of them — that is if we are not attacked.”
Red Teeth in The New York Times
A Somali pirate boss named Red Teeth said Saturday that his gang of pirates had whisked the British couple kidnapped at sea last month to a lair on shore, and apparently the pirates have begun bickering among themselves about what to do next.
Farah Siad in The Daily Telegraph
A spokesman for the pirates told The Daily Telegraph that the couple are unharmed and promised to treat them well unless a military rescue operation was launched. Farah Siad, speaking from the pirate stronghold of Harardhere town, Somalia, said: “This message should be heard by Britain, we will do many harmful things to them if rescue attempts take place.”
Warmoge in The Sunday Times
“We can defend ourselves and, if there is an attack on us, the captives will die before us,” said Warmoge, a pirate who was in the group that captured Paul, a structural engineer, and Rachel, an economist.
Ahmed Gadaf in The Sunday Times
Yesterday Ahmed Gadaf, who claimed to speak for the gang, accused western vessels of “harassing local fishermen and destroying their nets”.
Mohamed Hussein on Sky News
“We are telling Britain that any bullet of our friends on the yacht will be big cries for the families of the two old people we hold.”
Gedow on Sky News
Talking to a Sky News reporter Gedow insisted he was a voluntary coastguard and the Chandlers were seized as a precaution against “international violators”. Gedow said: “Our naval forces met them in the deep ocean, but it was the Somali ocean. “They didn’t have permission to sail in the Somali waters, so that is why we captured them.”
Shamum Indhobur to EFE, the Spanish news agency
In one call, a pirate who gave his name as Shamum Indhobur, reportedly told the Spanish news agency EFE that any rescue attempt on either vessel would result in suffering for those aboard the other. “We have the Spanish ship and this new yacht, and we warn naval forces that they must avoid any military action, because if one is attacked, we will punish those from the other,” he said in a call from Harardhere, a Somali pirate haven.
Ahmed Sheikh to AFP
Ahmed Sheikh, who claimed to be a member of the gang, reportedly told the French news agency AFP that about 60 gunmen had arrived in Harardhere to protect the pirates, adding: “We have made proper contact with the boat and everybody is OK. The hostages’ fate will be discussed when the boat gets here.”
Kudos to the Indy and AFP for using the word ‘claimed’.