It's in this context that I find this innovation of social banditry in a key pirate town so fascinating. Pirates have set up something like an investment co-op for locals to take advantage of, and participate in, the profits from piracy. They can invest into pirate crews with either money or equipment, garnering a share of the booty when that crew is successful.
"Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 'maritime companies' and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking," Mohammed said.This description of a local woman who has been able to use her divorce settlement as a way to improve her income earning potential is particularly inspiring.
"The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials ... we've made piracy a community activity."
Haradheere, 400 km (250 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, used to be a small fishing village. Now it is a bustling town where luxury 4x4 cars owned by the pirates and those who bankroll them create honking traffic jams along its pot-holed, dusty streets.
Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel.To hell with AMWAY and AVON, African piracy is the new way for single gals to supplement their income. And whoever invested in the crew that just seized a super-tanker with 2 million barrels of oil on board is about to take a very nice vacation this year.
"I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation," she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony.
"I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the 'company'."