A Somali pirate chief Mohamed Abdi Hassan, a.k.a. “Afweyne (Big Mouth)”, was finally arrested in Belgium by undercover agents who posed as documentary film crew from Europe. Hassan is the former boss of one of the most notorious Somali pirate gangs and has been raking in millions of dollars as ransom payments by holding freighters and fishing boats captive.
The Belgian police and undercover agents have been coaxing Hassan for months to bring him to Europe, posing as a documentary film crew and asking him to partake in the film. Hassan was finally persuaded and arrived at Brussels Airport Saturday only to be arrested. The Somali gang’s high-ranking officer Mohamed “Tiiceey” Aden who accompanied Hassan was arrested at the airport as well.
Hassan renounced his position earlier this year but Belgian government did not buy this act. He will now be tried in a trial for hijacking a Belgian ship in 2009.
A Belgian Federal prosecutor Johan Delmulle said in a news conference on Monday, “After patiently starting a relationship of trust with Ticeey, and through him with Afweyne, which took several months, both were prepared to participate in this project,” On Hassan’s claim that he is no longer involved in the pirate business, Delmulle said, “All too often those persons stay out of the frame and let others carry out their dirty business.”