A Somali government minister claims that paying ransoms to pirates simply makes the problem worse. Instead, he would like to see the money go toward improving mainland security. Abdul Karis Osman Issa, public works minister in semi-autonomous Puntland, told the BBC that the pirates are richer and better armed than his regional government. More than two dozen vessels have been hijacked off of the coast of Somalia this year. Most are released after a ransom is paid, though an attempted hijacking of an American ship last month ended when U.S. Navy special forces shot and killed three of the pirates who were holding the ship’s captain hostage.