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2 More Somalis Plead Guilty in US Piracy Trial


This undated photo courtesy of a family friend shows the S/V Quest yacht that belonged to Jean and Scott Adams

This undated photo courtesy of a family friend shows the S/V Quest yacht that belonged to Jean and Scott Adams

Two Somali men have pleaded guilty to piracy for their roles in a yacht hijacking in February that left four Americans dead.

Abdi Jama Aqid and Said Abdi Fooley entered their pleas Tuesday in a court in the eastern U.S. city of Norfolk. They are the latest of seven Somalis to enter guilty pleas in connection with the incident.

According to court documents, Aqid spotted ships to target for hijacking and believed he could get as much as $80,000 as his share of ransom. Fooley admitted to bringing a semi-automatic weapon on board the ship. He said he often was stationed at the front of the yacht as a guard.

Both men said they were not personally involved in the shooting of the four U.S. citizens on board. They face mandatory life sentences, but they could serve less time as a result of their plea agreement. The men are expected to be sentenced by September.

Including Aqid and Fooley, 14 people from Somalia and one from Yemen are facing charges related to the hijacking.

The owners of the yacht Quest and their two friends were shot to death several days after being taken hostage, hundreds of kilometers south of Oman. They were the first U.S. citizens killed in a wave of pirate attacks in recent years in the region.

On Monday, two other Somalis pleaded guilty to piracy in the incident. The latest guilty pleas bring to seven the number of defendants who have admitted their roles in the abduction of the yacht.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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