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Belgian Police Say They've Arrested Pirate Named 'Big Mouth'

A man who is suspected of being a notorious pirate in Somalia has been arrested in Belgium, after an apparent sting operation that included a ruse that investigators were making a film. The pirate nicknamed "Big Mouth" is believed to have made millions in ransom money by hijacking ships off east Africa's coast.

From Brussels, Teri Schultz filed this report for NPR's Newscast:

"The pirate kingpin known as 'Big Mouth' — Mohamed Abdi Hassan — and another man were taken into custody at Brussels Airport as they arrived on a flight from Nairobi. They're expected to be charged with piracy and hostage-taking.

"Hassan is believed to have been the leader of the 2009 hijacking of the Belgian dredging vessel Pompeii north of the Seychelles. The ship and its crew were held for 70 days before being released in exchange for an amount of money rumored to be more than $2 million.

"Local media report Hassan was lured to Belgium as part of an undercover operation which asked him to come take part in a movie about life as a pirate on the high seas."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

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