Some armed groups who adhere to a more moderate interpretation of Islam have begun battling Al Qaeda-linked extremists.
The self-declared republic of Somaliland has elections, a strong economy, and zero tolerance for extremists or pirates. But no one recognizes it.
Meet the modern-day brigands behind the sometimes sophisticated, always risky operations that raked in an estimated $80 million in ransoms in 2008.
Somalis near the border with Ethiopia say that country's troops have crossed over, raising speculation of another battle with the militant Islamists closing in on Somalia's government.
Behind the bare brick walls of a desolate former British colonial prison in Somali land, five jailed Somali pirates didn't seem very fearsome at all.
Military options could only make things worse, some analysts say, if they did not go hand in hand with political solutions.
The world is not willing to allow this strategic nation to remain ungoverned. Can a coordinated effort create a stable government?
A Monitor Q&A reveals who's behind the modern-day pirates, how they got so good at taking ships, and what's being done to stop them.