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15 October 2013

Belgian operation leads to capture of alleged pirate leader and subject of INTERPOL Red Notice

LYON, France – The arrest by Belgian authorities of a suspected Somali pirate leader has been praised by INTERPOL as an important step forward in the fight against maritime piracy.

Mohammed Abdi Hassan, also known as Afweyne, is wanted for his alleged role in the seizure of the Belgian ship, MV Pompei in 2009, and is also the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice, or internationally wanted persons alert.

Head of INTERPOL’s Maritime Security unit, Pierre St Hilaire, said the arrests should serve as a ‘warning shot across the bows’ for other maritime piracy suspects, especially the leaders and organizers of the piracy networks.

“These are significant arrests and the result of extremely hard and thorough work by Belgian authorities,” said Mr St Hilaire.

“INTERPOL is ready to provide whatever support required by Belgium in their prosecution of these individuals, and also to other countries in their ongoing investigations into the organized crime networks behind maritime piracy,” added Mr St Hilaire.

INTERPOL’s role against maritime piracy has previously been established by the United Nations Security Council which in November 2011 unanimously endorsed Resolution 2020 (2011) urging all of its member states to share information with INTERPOL as part of a comprehensive global response to maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Similarly, a Decision adopted by the European Union in December 2010 saw the EU’s ongoing military operation against maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia, Operation Atalanta, use INTERPOL’s global network and tools to fight the criminal networks behind piracy in the Gulf of Aden.