Fourth Somali pirate pleads guilty

2011-05-23 20:51

Norfolk - A fourth Somali man pleaded guilty on Monday to piracy for his role in the hijacking of a yacht that left four Americans dead, striking a deal with prosecutors that resulted in him identifying which men fired at hostages aboard the boat.

Burhan Abdirahman Yusuf faces a mandatory life sentence, but as part of his plea agreement he could serve less time than that and eventually be deported to Somalia.

He is among 14 people from Somalia and one from Yemen facing charges related to the February hijacking of the yacht Quest.

The owners of the Quest, Jean and Scott Adam, along with friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay, were shot to death several days after being taken hostage several hundred miles south of Oman.

They were the first US citizens killed in a wave of pirate attacks that have plagued the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in recent years. Prosecutors said the men intended to bring the Americans to Somalia and hold them for ransom there. Pirates typically seek millions of dollars for hostages.

In a statement of facts Yusuf agreed to on Monday, Yusuf said the 19 men who had taken control of the yacht would have split 65% of the ransom money among themselves and an interpreter. The other 35%t would be given to a financier.

That plan fell through when US Navy warships began shadowing the Quest.

Ibrahim was in charge

Yusuf said a man aboard the yacht named Ibrahim was in charge at the time of the shooting. According to Yusuf, Ibrahim told the Navy, "We are not going to stop, you try to stop us if you can."

Other court records say it was Ibrahim - who is among four pirates who died aboard the boat - who gave the order to fire a rocket-propelled grenade at a Navy ship as a warning shot.

Yusuf said some of the other men on board said they were going to massacre the hostages in order to get the US boats to retreat.

Before the shooting, five men were guarding the Americans with guns pointed at them, including two others who are also dead.

Yusuf identified Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar among the men who survived who fired on the hostages.

When US special forces scrambled onto the occupied vessel, they found the Americans and two of the pirates' bodies. Two other pirates died in the operation.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    somalia  |  east africa  |  somali pirates
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

6 reasons Boks won’t botch it
Fiji far too strong for Uruguay
Burger hopes for elusive World Cup win
As it happened: Fiji 47-15 Uruguay
Traffic Alerts

Relationships and significant connections may play an important role in your day today. Let the warmth of the Leo moon inspire more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.