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HomeNewsKenya Selected to Aid EU in Yemen Rebel Crisis: Here is Why

Kenya Selected to Aid EU in Yemen Rebel Crisis: Here is Why

Kenya Selected to Aid EU in Yemen Rebel Crisis: Here is Why

Kenya has committed to backing the European Union’s efforts to tackle maritime crime in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, and Red Sea areas.

These regions face growing risks from piracy and assaults by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

This collaboration coincides with the EU’s deployment of a naval presence in these waters, aimed at countering security challenges that disrupt global trade routes.

Rising Maritime Threats

The EU’s request for aid comes as a reaction to the increasing dangers faced by ships in vital sea routes.

Instances of piracy and actions by Houthi rebels have greatly affected the secure navigation of ships, leading the EU to look for alliances in the region to enhance security measures.

EU-Kenya Legal Agreement

Henriette Geiger, the EU Ambassador to Kenya, emphasized the EU’s collaboration with Kenya in addressing and bringing to justice individuals involved in maritime crimes apprehended within the region’s maritime territories.

She pointed out that Kenya is in the process of establishing a formal legal agreement with the EU, enabling Operation Atalanta, the EU’s anti-piracy initiative, to transfer confiscated weapons and suspected traffickers to Kenya for legal proceedings.

Geiger highlighted that Seychelles has already consented to a comparable arrangement. However, being a small island nation, it cannot manage this responsibility single-handedly.

Operation Atalanta

Operation Atalanta, the EU’s military endeavor in the Horn of Africa, centers primarily on combating piracy.

Yet, the operation encounters hurdles in prosecuting suspects owing to jurisdictional limitations, compelling cooperation with nations like Kenya capable of carrying out such prosecutions.

Isaiah Nakoru, leader of Kenya’s Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, reiterated Kenya’s preparedness to bolster regional security and facilitate the unimpeded flow of goods and individuals.

“We must collaborate to establish enduring security and tackle all actions jeopardizing livelihoods and mobility,” Nakoru emphasized.

Legal and Jurisdictional Challenges

Kenya has been under scrutiny regarding its capacity to prosecute individuals suspected of maritime crimes that take place well beyond its territorial waters.

Nonetheless, a decision made by a Kenyan court in 2012 affirmed the nation’s authority to prosecute Somali pirates engaging in illegal activities in waters beyond national jurisdiction.

Despite this legal affirmation, Andrew Mwangura, a consultant specializing in maritime security, highlighted persistent legal obstacles. He stressed the importance of tackling underlying issues such as the prevalence of illegal fishing in the waters of East Africa.

Recent Developments

Piracy remains a pressing issue, with fresh assaults off the coast of Somalia reigniting apprehensions about its resurgence.

During the early 2010s, Somali pirates seized numerous vessels, demanding ransom payments.

In a recent development, the EU naval force extradited six suspected pirates from Somalia to the Seychelles for prosecution. Additionally, last Friday, the EU force effectively liberated a merchant vessel and its 17 crew members from pirate captivity.

Kenya Selected to Aid EU in Yemen Rebel Crisis: Here is Why