London: Somalia’s pirates could be granted an amnesty if they release hostages and return captured vessels to their owners, the country’s transitional President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has said.
Sheikh Ahmed, the head of Somalia`s corruption-riddled government, said he was prepared to let off the 2,000 pirates thought to be operating off the troubled nation`s coast.
“Those who leave behind what they have done will be forgiven,” he said in comments published in Friday`s Times.
“The government will make clear that the doors are open, if they want to come in,” he added.
Sharif, whose current mandate expires next month, was linked to alleged graft in a UN report leaked earlier this month that called for corrupt leaders to face Security Council sanctions, The Telegraph reports.
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.
According to the paper, Sharif called the allegations ‘absolutely false’ and added that he was unconcerned about the possibility of UN sanctions.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali vowed the pirates would not ‘get away with murder’ but said the government was prepared to compromise.