By Jim Kouri
Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali, a/k/a Sanadaaq, and Jilani Abdiali, a/k/a Ilkasse, both nationals of Somalia, were sentenced Thursday in Norfolk, Virginia, federal court to life in prison for their acts of piracy against the S/V Quest, which resulted in the murder of United States citizens Scott Underwood Adam, Jean Savage Adam, Phyllis Patricia Macay, and Robert Campbell Riggle.
Ali pled guilty to piracy under the law of nations and hostage taking resulting in death on May 23, 2011. Abdiali pled guilty to piracy under the law of nations on May 20, 2011, according to officials from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
“As Somali pirates expand their territory, they place more individuals’ lives at risk,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride. “These men willingly joined this group of pirates out of greed, knowing full well that their actions could—and did—lead to the death of their hostages. They will spend their lives in prison for what they willingly chose to do and the lifetime of suffering and pain they thrust on the victims’ loved ones.”
Ali, 32, admitted in court that he was the commander of the pirate ship when it left Somalia. They seized the Quest about 840 miles off the coast of Somalia, and he transferred the pirates and a number of weapons over to the Quest via a skiff. He carried an AK-47, which he used for guard duty over the hostages, and he ordered a co-defendant to fire an RPG toward a U.S. Navy vessel carrying a SEAL Team sent to rescue the American hostages.
In his plea, he claimed that he did not personally shoot or order the shooting of the four Americans. He received two concurrent terms of life in prison today.
Abdiali, 20, admitted that he willingly engaged in piracy for financial gain and participated in the pirating of the Quest and the taking of the four Americans on board as hostages. He claimed in his plea agreement that he did not personally shoot any of the Americans, nor did he instruct any other person to shoot the hostages.
The investigation of the case was conducted by special agents from the FBI and agents from NCIS.
Unfortunately, Somalia has not had a strong central government since 1991, and its police and military are still overwhelmed when confronted with terror groups such as al-Shabaab.
In an intelligence analysis report, several security experts said they believed Somali-based pirates are helping to fund Al Shabaab and al-Qaeda operations, as well.
Also, Somalia’s police spokesman, Dhexe Abdullahi Hassan is quoted as saying that al-Qaeda was the prime suspect in a smuggling operation involving counterfeit notes after international financial institutions starved the terrorist group of all money supplies, according to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police’s Terrorism Committee.