Somali teen pirate charged in hijacking

May 20, 2009 at 10:16 AM
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NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- A Somali teenager accused of being the ringleader of a pirate crew that hijacked a U.S.-flagged cargo ship has been charged with 10 counts, prosecutors say.

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, 18, was charged Tuesday in New York with piracy, seizing a ship by force and hostage taking in connection with last month's hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in the Gulf of Aden, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Authorities say Muse was the first of a group of pirates to board the ship and acted as their leader. They alleged he took the ship's captain, American Richard Phillips, hostage in a lifeboat, later leaving the lifeboat to board the U.S. Navy missile destroyer USS Bainbridge to negotiate Phillips' release.

Navy snipers then killed the three remaining pirates in the lifeboat and rescued Phillips. Muse was arrested and taken to the United States to face charges, the Journal said.

Muse could face life imprisonment on the piracy charge.

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