GAROWE, Somalia, May 9 (UPI) -- At least one Somali pirate leader is considering getting out of the hijacking business because of pressure from Muslim leaders.
Religious leaders in Puntland, the northeastern province that serves as a base for many pirates, are talking about excommunicating pirates, The New York Times reported Friday. A parking lot in Garowe, the area's major city, even has a sign: "No pirates allowed."
"Man, these Islamic guys want to cut my hands off," Abshir Boyah complained to the Times. "Maybe it's time for a change."
Boyah says he is a member of "The Corporation," the pirates' governing body. He appears to be more concerned about religious leaders than about the foreign naval vessels now patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, the newspaper said.
The pirate leaders have told the religious ones they are willing to go straight. In return, they want jobs for rank-and-file members of pirate crews and assistance with a Coast Guard.
Piracy began in Somalia with local fishermen who formed a seagoing militia to protect the coast from illegal fishing and dumping.