Pirate Booty Creates Boomtowns

Somalian pirates are creating a booming economy of caterers, luxury cars, and high-end chefs in the northern coastal towns of the impoverished country. "The pirates depend on us, and we benefit from them," said one shopkeeper.
November 20, 2008, 1pm PST | Tim Halbur
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"While pirate villages used to have houses made of corrugated iron sheets, now, there are stately looking homes made of sturdy, white stones.

'Regardless of how the money is coming in, legally or illegally, I can say it has started a life in our town,' said Shamso Moalim, a 36-year-old mother of five in Haradhere. 'Our children are not worrying about food now, and they go to Islamic schools in the morning and play soccer in the afternoon. They are happy.'

The attackers generally treat their hostages well in anticipation of a big payday, hiring caterers on shore to cook spaghetti, grilled fish and roasted meat that will appeal to Western palates."

"Towns that once were eroded by years of poverty and chaos are now bustling with restaurants, Land Cruisers and Internet cafes. Residents also use their gains to buy generators - allowing full days of electricity, once an unimaginable luxury in Somalia."

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Published on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 in Associated Press
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