Washington: Three Somali men have been
charged with kidnapping, hostage-taking and murder in the
deaths of four US citizens during the hijacking of a yacht off
the coast of Oman, US officials said.
The Justice Department said yesterday that a superseding
indictment adds to the charges already filed of piracy against
a group of Somalis and one Yemeni in the February 22 attack on
the S/V Quest.
The owners of the yacht, Jean and Scott Adam, were
Christian missionaries based in California who were sailing
around the world at the time of the hijacking.
They were shot to death, along with their companions Bob
Riggle and Phyllis Macay from Seattle, Washington, several
days after being taken hostage and as negotiations were taking
place with US Navy officials.
Named in the indictment were Ahmed Muse Salad, 25; Abukar
Osman Beyle, 20; and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, 29.
The indictment contends that they were part of a group
armed with firearms and a rocket-propelled grenade which
boarded the Quest on February 18 and took the four American
citizens as hostages before killing them.
"Today`s superseding indictment charges three men from
Somalia with brutally murdering four American citizens held
hostage for ransom," said US Attorney Neil MacBride.
"This past March, the grand jury returned an indictment
against these defendants, and others, with piracy in the armed
hijacking of a US-flagged yacht.
"The superseding indictment accuses these three men of
summarily executing the hostages -- without provocation --
while the military was attempting to negotiate their release."
With the additional charges, the defendants now
potentially face a death sentence if convicted.