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US warns of growing piracy risk off West Africa

The United States is increasingly worried about pirate attacks off West Africa and is committed to helping countries bolster security in the region, a US diplomat said Tuesday. At least 27 attacks on boats, including robberies, kidnappings or failed attempts, have occurred off the West Africa coast since April, according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Off Africa’s east coast however — a former hotbed of pirate activity notably based in Somalia — only two attacks have been reported in the period. “Creating . national strategies for maritime security is an essential first step,” said Andrew Haviland, charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan. He was speaking at the opening of a US-organised conference on sea security attended by officials from 15 African countries that runs through Friday.

Source: Gulf News