People shall not be surprised that pirates are on the rise.
What unites pirates from West and East Africa are, that they are very young.
In the vast majority of African countries, the youth constitutes more than 50% of the population.
At the same time, the lack of industrialisation and an elite that enrich themselves at the cost of the people make the youth look for money in alternative ways.
Since the elite has screwed the youth, and the perception is (real or imagined) that the elite only looks after themselves (chop alone), a large portion of the youth do not feel they owe the state anything. In a matter of fact, how the rich steal money for themselves makes the pirates more looking like they take what they believe belongs to them.
The money is a cake, and they are just reclaiming their fair share.
In Nigeria, the difference between you becoming a pirate or a coast guard hunting pirates depends on which side can offer the best pay.
The problem is that you can question the loyalty of the local coast guard. With good reasons. Often entire oil tankers have gone missing. An oil tanker does not go missing unless some from the local coast guard cooperate with the pirates.
However, as the article says because oil prices are declining, pirates have begun resume kidnapping of particular foreigners. Kidnapping is rare in Nigeria. Apparently, it is back. When kidnapping you hold the person for ransom. An alternative, yet financial fertile enterprise.
Prior to the upsurge of the presence of pirates in the Gulf of Aden foreign countries used the Gulf to dump toxic waste and to overfish the waters.
The theft was much more lucrative than what the pirates ever got from ransom. But it seems little has been done to fix this problem from Western powers. The focus was to secure the waters for the international trade, not to protect the livelihood of the fishermen.
Western countries’ present managed to squelch pirates, but they never offered the people, especially the youth, any alternatives. Of course, when a window opens, pirates will reemerge. War prevents them from farming, their waters are polluted, and they have seen how much money piracy generates.
The youth have the same dreams as the rest of us. They want a future. They want to become someone. Becoming a pirate paves the way to becoming a big man. With limited opposition due to a lack of jobs and legit value added production, and an elite that continues to enrich themselves in dubious ways cooperation with various Western countries, where corrupt members of the elite transfer their money, as long will the youth find work anyhow. That means becoming a pirate is on the table.
The solution is to seriously offer the youth real alternatives and to combat the canker of corruption. In the case of Somalia, start having a state, and for the AU to get into action to uphold the territory of Somalia as long as the Somali state is unable to do so.