Belgium traps Somali pirate chief

Belgium has arrested a notorious Somali pirate chief after luring him to Brussels on promises of shooting a documentary about his life on the seas.

Belgium traps Somali pirate chief with lure of stardom

Belgium has arrested a notorious Somali pirate chief after luring him to Brussels on promises of shooting a documentary movie about his life on the high seas, prosecutors said Monday.

Federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle said Mohamed Abdi Hassan, better known as “Afweyne” or “Big Mouth”, was being held in the Belgian city of Bruges after being detained at Brussels airport Saturday when he stepped off a flight from Nairobi.

Afweyne and his powerful accomplice, Mohamed Aden “Tiiceey”, the former governor of Somalia’s self-proclaimed Himan and Heeb statelet, were facing charges of kidnapping, piracy and organised crime, the prosecutor said in a statement he read to the press in French and Dutch.

The charges followed the 2009 capture of a Belgian ship, the Pompei, seized and held by pirates off the Somali coast for more than 70 days.

Afweyne announced in Mogadishu in January that he was quitting piracy after a highly profitable eight-year career. He said he was working to persuade other pirates to do the same.

A UN report has described him as one of the lynch-pins in the piracy business which made a fortune attacking dozens of merchant vessels between 2008 and 2013.

The Pompei was captured by dozens of pirates 700 miles off Somalia in the Indian Ocean, and the nine crew-members, including two Belgian officers and the Dutch captain held “in inhumane circumstances” until a ransom was dropped by parachute.

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Source: AFP.

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