Wednesday, 16 October 2013

TALKING TO SOMALIA’S “MOST NOTORIOUS PIRATE”


By Alex Chitty
afweyne
Mohammed Abdi “Big Mouth” Hassan, alleged pirate chief.
If you read about Somali piracy for any length of time, one name is bound to keep cropping up: Mohammed Abdi “Big Mouth” Hassan. Except he just got busted. I spoke to him a couple of months ago, and thought now might be the time to dig it out.
Hassan, or “Afweyne” as he was previously known, famously hijacked the biggest vessel in history, a $100 million Saudi-owned supertanker, which he recieved $3 million to return. A “founding father” of modern buccaneering off the Horn of Africa, Hassan hit the headlines back in January, when he held a press conference to announce his “retirement” from the game. Despite this, an INTERPOL Red Notice issued in his name in 2012 stuck, and a couple of days ago his pirate reign came to an official end.
Sneaky Belgian cops who were probably a bit sore over the hijacking of their compatriots’ship back in 2009, lured Hassan to Brussels on the premise of working on a fake documentary about piracy. Despite grasping a Somali diplomatic passport (“not worth the paper it’s written on”, the UK Foreign Office told me), Big Mouth was charged with hijacking and Continued

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