With Captain Phillips all the buzz in Hollywood right now, it seems like the Somalian pirate issue is once again a prominent news story. New and interesting details of pirate operations are being rapidly revealed once again. From the bizarre tactics (see Britney Spears), to the intriguing stories. We recently found ourselves with another one of the latter.
Mohamed Abdi Hassan, better known as “Afweyne”, has been Somalia’s pirate kingpin for upwards of a decade. Beginning in 2003, Afweyne began head hunting and creating a pirate militia, motivating them with rich business opportunities and the need to defend their waters from outside nations feasting on the country’s marine resources. As one of the leaders of a roughly estimated $400 million industry (2005-2013), Afweyne certainly enjoyed his new found wealth and empire. His thirst for glory and riches, however, may have been his downfall.
The outspoken Somalian was recently arrested after falling for a months long sting operation that operated much like the plot of another recently popular film, Argo. After being contacted by “Belgian film directors” that wanted Afweyne to consult on a upcoming film about his own life, the Somalian and an associate hopped on a plane to Belgium ready to cash in on their new Hollywood status. After landing, the two men were immediately arrested for the 2009 hijacking and ransom of the Belgian-owned dredging vessel Pompei.
The weird and outrageous seems to never end with these pirates.