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FBI’s Long Arm Nabs Pirate Negotiator in Somalia


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The long arm of the FBI reached into Somalia and plucked out a man suspected of being the chief negotiator for a group of pirates who hijacked an American yacht in February and ultimately killed all four people aboard, authorities announced Wednesday.

Mohammad Saaili Shibin, who worked ashore as the pirates held the people hostage, was arrested  in a joint effort with the FBI and Somali government.  He was indicted in Norfolk, Va.

“The arrest of Mohammad Shibin is a significant breakthrough in the United States’ battle against Somali pirates,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said Wednesday. “Today marks the first time that the U.S. government has captured and charged an alleged pirate in a leadership role—a hostage negotiator who operated in Somalia.”

“As 14 heavily armed men holed-up aboard the Quest, Mohammad Shibin allegedly worked behind the scenes determining exactly how much cash could be extorted for the Americans’ safe release,” said New York’s FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk.

Fourteen others who hijacked the SV/Quest yacht have been indicted in the matter and are awaiting trial, which is set for Nov. 29.

The indictment alleges that during the negotiations, Shibin was on land conducting research on the Internet to learn about the hostages on the yacht and figure out the appropriate ransom demand, authorities said.

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