Down and Out in Nairobi: Somali Pirates in Retirement

Who profits from piracy in Somalia these days? Not the men who do the dirty work

MOHAMED DAHIR / AFP / Getty Images

An armed pirate looks at a cargo ship anchored offshore in northeastern Somalia

The pirate is sitting in the backseat of my car. We are parked in the basement lot of a Nairobi mall; the Muzak version of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" echoes across the concrete. The man, who calls himself Ahmad, tells me he helped hijack six ships off Somalia before he quit the trade in November because his wife left him for another pirate. He starts to cry and hides his face with his hands. "I felt that I could murder that man," Ahmad says. "My town was dominated by him. I thought the best thing was to run...

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