Somalia: ID cards prove fishermen are not pirates

Somali fishermen look at the Mogadishu harbour

Somali fishermen have been issued with official ID cards to help distinguish them from pirates, it's been reported.

At least 2,000 such cards have been handed out to fishermen in the Puntland region of Somalia in the last two months, the Ministry for Fisheries and Marine Resources tells Radio Ergo. One fisherman in Bossasso says he feels less afraid of being mistaken for a pirate when he is out at sea.

"We used to suffer a lot because we have been mistaken often for pirates," says Muse Abdalla Isse. "We have been mistakenly shot at or arrested by the forces [European Union naval forces in Somali waters]." He says that just days ago he was stopped by an EU naval patrol - but they let him go when he showed them his card.

Officials say about 4,000 fishermen have been registered in the programme, and everyone should receive their identity cards by the end of April.

Somali fishermen sit next to their boats

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