[JURIST] A Somali judge known for jailing suspected pirates [JURIST news archive], human traffickers, and Islamist insurgents was shot dead Wednesday while leaving a mosque in the Puntland city of Bossaso. Judge Mohamed Abdi Aware of the Puntland high court and the Puntland Supreme Judicial Council, had recently jailed four members [IOL report] of the al-Shabaab Islamist group and had sentenced 12 suspected pirates [AFP report] to terms ranging from three to eight years. Northern Somali security minister Mohamed Said Samatar said that three suspects in the shooting have been arrested [Garowe Online report]. The judge's killing is thought to be an act of reprisal carried out by Somali gangs.
In July, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) [official website] reported that pirate attacks around the globe have doubled [JURIST report] in the first half of 2009. The bulk of the upsurge has come from increased activity in the Gulf of Aden and Somali coastal waters, a vital shipping route providing access to the Red Sea. UN Security Council Resolution 1838 [text, PDF], passed last fall, has condemned Somali piracy and called upon member states to combat it. In an effort to curb hijackings, the European Union, the US, and other countries have deployed naval warships to the region. Somalia has had no stable central government since 1991, although Puntland and Somaliland have established governments of their own. A Transitional Federal Government [CFR backgrounder] formed in 2004 is currently the de facto head of Somalia.