It had taken five days to arrange this meeting. Somali pirates are hard to track down, constantly moving around and changing phone numbers. Days earlier, frustrated and eager to begin interviewing, I had naively suggested approaching some suspected pirates on the streets of Garowe, a rapidly expanding city at the heart of the pirates' tribal homeland. Habitually munching on narcotic leaves of khat, they are easy enough to spot, their gleaming Toyota four-wheel-drives slicing paths around beaten-up wheelbarrows and pushcarts. My Somali hosts laughed, explaining that to do so would invite kidnapping, robbery, or, at the very least, unwanted surveillance. In Somalia, everything is done through connections – clan, family or friend – and these networks are expansive and interminable. Warsame, my guide and interpreter, had been on and off the phone for the better part of a week, attempting to coax his personal network into producing Abdullahi "Boyah" Abshir. Eventually it responded, and Boyah presented himself.
Full article available here: "Somali pirate: 'We're not murderers, we just attack ships'"