News / Europe

Belgium Arrests Somali Pirate Using Fake Film Deal

FILE  - In this July 6, 2009 file photo, the released crew members of the Belgian ship 'Pompei,' Belgium's Jan Verplancke, left, James Law, right, and Dutchman Hendrik Toxopeus, address the media upon their arrival at Brussels airport.
FILE - In this July 6, 2009 file photo, the released crew members of the Belgian ship 'Pompei,' Belgium's Jan Verplancke, left, James Law, right, and Dutchman Hendrik Toxopeus, address the media upon their arrival at Brussels airport.
VOA News
Belgium has arrested a Somali pirate after luring him to the country with fake promises of making a documentary about his life.

Prosecutors in Belgium said Monday they arrested Mohamed Abdi Hassan, also known as "Afweyne," at Brussels airport after he disembarked from a flight from Nairobi. They say he was arrested along with his accomplice Mohamed Aden Tiiceey.

Instead of signing a film contract, the two were charged with hijacking the Belgium ship Pompei and kidnapping its crew in 2009.

Federal prosecutor John Delmulle said Belgium police went undercover to try to lure the pirates to Belgium, because they knew the pirates rarely traveled and knew it would be difficult to arrest them in Somalia. He said authorities persuaded the pirates to be advisors on a film about piracy that would chronicle their lives.

"The plan consisted of approaching Afweyne through his accomplice Tiicceey, the former governor of the central Somalian region Himan and Heeb, who he trusts a lot. Via Tiiceey, we asked Afweyne if he would be willing to co-operate as an adviser and expert on a movie project about maritime piracy. It would be a story about his life as a pirate. After patiently building up a relation of confidence over months with Tiiceey, and through him with Afweyne, both agreed to participate in the project. Afweyne and Tiiceey arrived at eight o'clock on Saturday morning October 12, 2013 at Zaventem to sign a contract in Belgium. They were waited for and detained by Brussels' federal police.''

Afweyne is believed to have been the leader of a major Somali pirate organization. He announced in January that he was quitting his life of piracy.

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