"Hey skinny, I can steer your boat. If you choose me, you won't regret it."

- Ali as the pirate Elmi in Captain Phillips

Mahat M. Ali is a Somali-American actor from Minneapolis. While not much is specifically known about his background, in 2013 he was cast in Paul Greengrass' biographical survival thriller film Captain Phillips, based on the Maersk Alabama hijacking that had occurred in 2009, off the coast of the Horn of Africa. Ali is a close friend of the actors who he would co-star with in the film; Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, and Barkhad Abdirahman. All four portrayed the Somali pirates that hijacked the Maersk and who would later take it's captain, Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), hostage in a lifeboat.

Walid Elmi Edit

Mahat M. Ali portrays Somali pirate Walid Elmi. In the film, Elmi is shown to be the pirate that ringleader Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) handpicked at the beginning, once he was persuaded that he could be useful in "steering a boat". Muse relented, and Elmi was the second out of three pirates chosen to help hijack what would later turn into being the MV Maersk Alabama, on April 8, 2009. Ali's character is based on one of three men who were gunned down by Navy SEALs on April 12, long after Muse and his men had boarded the Alabama and taken it's captain, Richard Phillips, hostage in a lifeboat.

Unlike the pirates Nour Najee (Faysal Ahmed) and Adan Bilal (Barkhad Abdirahman), but like Muse, Elmi wields an AK-47 with a stock. He is very laid back, but tactful in his decision making. He tended to take notice with Najee's erratic behavior, and cautioned Muse to control him. Elmi acknowledged Captain Phillips more than Bilal did, but less than Najee did; having told Phillips that he "talked too much...too much". Logically, Elmi could have been considered the more mature one and less prone to violence in Muse's absence. It appeared that he kept the supply of Khat that the four brought with them that day, likely given to him by Bilal in which he shared between them.

Despite his maturity, he knew what he was there for, and if there came a time he felt threatened in the lifeboat he would tense up and get ready for action, even behind the controls. When Phillips attacked Najee inside the lifeboat while Muse was unknowingly being detained on the Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge, Elmi sprung into action, defended his fellow pirate and helped tie up Phillips. He and Bilal allowed themselves to be talked into killing Phillips by Najee, and Elmi was eventually shot and killed by a Navy SEAL sniper while at the controls of the Maersk Alabama lifeboat, along with his two pirate companions.

Fictional Character Background Edit

The character of 'Walid Elmi' appears to a composite character of the Somali pirate Ali Aden Elmi, one of three pirates who helped Abduwali Muse hijack the Alabama and later hold Richard Phillips for ransom. Elmi was killed by Navy SEAL snipers on April 12, 2009 and his body was turned over to Somali recipients.

Weapons Edit

  • AK-47 assault rifle