LONDON - Somalia’s pirates could be granted an amnesty if they release hostages and return captured vessels to their owners, transitional president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told the London Times.
The head of Somalia’s corruption-riddled government, whose current mandate expires next month, said he was prepared to let off the 2,000 pirates thought to be operating off the troubled nation’s coast in comments published in Friday’s Times.
“Those who leave behind what they have done will be forgiven,” he said, after campaigning in Balad, 40 kilometres north of Mogadishu.
“The government will make clear that the doors are open, if they want to come in,” he added.
Sharif, who faces competition for the presidency from parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, was linked to alleged graft in a UN report leaked earlier this month that called for corrupt leaders to face Security Council sanctions.
The report contained claims that Sharif had given a diplomatic passport to pirate ringleader Mohamed Abide Hassan as an inducement to wind down his network.