Presidents of Benin, Nigeria discuss piracy

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Presidents of Benin and Nigeria

Presidents of Benin and Nigeria

Benin‘s President Thomas Boni Yayi met Nigeria‘s President Goodluck Jonathan for talks Sunday on how to combat pirates operating off the west coast of Africa.

Yayi told reporters in Abuja he was there to brief Jonathan on the progress of the new programme set up by the neighbours’ last month to mount naval patrols off their coasts.

The force is based in the port of Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin.

Accompanying Yayi was Benin’s chief of defence staff General Mathieu Boni who said the joint operation had been successful.

“There have has been no more attacks apart from some little, little cases here and there,” he added.

Nevertheless pirates captured an oil ship and its 20-strong crew off the coast of Nigeria on October 8. The announcement Friday that they had been freed had no details of how this had been negotiated.

Benin has recently had to contend with a surge of attacks in its waters and fears the effects that will have on its economy, which is heavily dependent on its port activities.

The International Maritime Bureau has registered 20 acts of piracy there since the beginning of the year, where none were recorded in 20120.

For Nigeria however, piracy has been a longstanding problem.

One of Africa’s top oil producing countries, its coastal waters are swarming with oil tankers.

While east Africa’s pirates make their money by ransoming the crew, those off the west coast of Africa seem more interested in the cargos, particularly when the ships are carrying oil.

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