The captured Somali pirate who held a merchant captain hostage will be brought to New York to face trial, a U.S. official said Thursday.
The suspect, identified as Abduhl Wal-i-Musi, was taken aboard a U.S. Navy ship shortly before Navy SEAL snipers killed the three remaining pirates holding Capt. Richard Phillips hostage on a lifeboat launched from his cargo vessel, the Maersk Alabama.
It is not immediately clear when the suspect will be brought to New York. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose information about an ongoing investigation.
The government had been weighing whether to bring the suspect to trial in the United States or hand him over to authorities in Kenya, which has an international agreement to prosecute pirates.
Meantime, the Alabama's skipper finally arrived back on land in Mombasa, Kenya, on Thursday aboard the U.S. Navy destroyer that had saved him after the dramatic standoff in the Indian Ocean. Hours after the crew members reunited with their families in the United States, the USS Bainbridge brought Capt. Richard Phillips to the Mombasa harbor, blaring out strains of "Sweet Home Alabama." The destroyer hoisted the U.S. flag as it arrived.
Phillips plans to spend Thursday night on the Bainbridge because "he is among people he knows, that's how he wants it," said Maersk shipping line spokesman Gordan van Hook. He would not say when Phillips planned to fly home.
One week ago, pirates took over the Alabama briefly before the captain surrendered himself in exchange for the safety of his 19-member crew. Phillips was freed Sunday after five days of being held hostage in a lifeboat when U.S. Navy SEAL snipers on the destroyer USS Bainbridge killed three of his captors.
The Alabama crew had scuffled with the pirates, wounding one of them with an ice pick, in taking back control of their ship. The bandits fled the ship with Phillips as their captive, holding him in the lifeboat in a high-stakes standoff until the SEAL sharpshooters took action.