Image: Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse
Louis Lanzano  /  AP
Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse is escorted into FBI headquarters in New York on April 20.
msnbc.com news services
updated 1/12/2010 2:35:46 PM ET 2010-01-12T19:35:46

A Somali teen facing piracy charges in a U.S. court has been indicted on charges he helped seize two other ships off the coast of Africa.

The federal indictment unsealed Tuesday in Manhattan charges Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse and others of boarding the two vessels and holding the crews at gunpoint last March and April. It doesn't name the ships.

Prosecutors say that shortly after those attacks, the men stormed the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama.

The FBI alleges Muse was the first pirate to board the Alabama about 280 miles off the Somali coast. He and others held the captain hostage until Navy sharpshooters killed three other suspects, according to the charges.

Muse, believed to be 18, has pleaded not guilty to piracy and other charges. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Lawyers for Muse were not immediately available for comment.

Heavily armed pirates from lawless Somalia have been striking vessels in busy Indian Ocean shipping lanes and in the Gulf of Aden, capturing dozens of vessels, taking hundreds of hostages and making off with millions of dollars in ransoms.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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