Watch part two
Piracy off the Somali coast has seen a rampant increase over the past year with over 200 crew members still being held hostage. Mogadishu's unstable government and poor economy has forced the local Somali fishermen to resort to piracy as a new business enterprise.
The pirates themselves have suffered in recent times. At least five were killed in two separate incidents, when the US and French military got involved in rescuing hostages. But it clearly is not the end of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
With three more ships hijacked in 24 hours off the coast of Somalia and the attack on a visiting US congressman in Mogadishu, the situation has taken a radical turn, raising fears the pirates may just become more aggressive and dangerous.
This has been reinforced by Mohamed Hashi Yasin, a self-declared spokesman for Somali pirates, who says: "We will treat every country as they treat us."
Al-Shabeeb, al-Qaeda's proxy in Somalia, has claimed responsibility for the attack against Donald Payne, a US congressman. If threatened, the pirates might even look to support from small Islamist groups in Somalia. This could escalate the crisis to a whole new level.
The issue of piracy is stepping up on all fronts. But will US military muscle deter the hardcore Somali pirates? Just what will it take to eliminate the threat of piracy in the Horn of Africa? Will the issue be resolved any time soon?
Presenter Kamahl Santamaria is joined by Awad Ashareh, a prominent member of the Somali parliament, Stig Hansen, a project director for one of the few research programmes on the Aden piracy groups and the author of the book The Borders of Islam, and Will Geddes, a shipping security specialist at International Corporate Protection.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, April 14, 2009.