Tags: War on Terrorism | journalist | Somalia | ransom | freed

$1.6M Ransom Frees US-Born Journalist From Somali Pirates

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 07:26 PM

A U.S.-born journalist kidnapped and held by pirates in Somalia for two and a half years has been freed after negotiators paid a $1.6 million ransom.

The Associated Press cited a commander of the pirates who'd been holding the journalist, who said the money had been exchanged for the release of Michael Scott Moore, a native of Redondo Beach, Calif.

But Germany's Foreign Ministry confirmed only that "a German citizen, who also possesses American citizenship and who was kidnapped in Somalia, was freed" Tuesday, the German magazine Spiegel Online reported.

Moore, 45, who had freelanced for the German magazine, was "overjoyed," security officials told Spiegel Online.

The journalist was abducted in January 2012 in the Somali city of Galkayo, where he was doing research for a book on piracy. His abductors initially demanded a ransom of $20 million, RBC Radio reported, and they periodically released photos of him.

Spiegel reported that Germany's Foreign Ministry worked with U.S. officials to get Moore released, and that several different negotiators were involved.

"We're grateful to all the people who have worked so long to bring about Michael's release, and thrilled that he and his family can be reunited at last," Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, told the magazine.

Moore was reporting on a Pulitzer Center grant at the time of his abduction.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli wouldn't comment on what led to his release, saying only: "The German government cannot be blackmailed."

"In these dark times, when around 20 journalists are still missing in Syria and journalists are being targeted for financial or political gain, we are delighted that Michael Scott Moore has been released," Committee to Protect Journalists official Sue Valentine said, according to RBC Radio.

"We wish him a speedy and safe return to his family and loved ones."

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A U.S.-born journalist kidnapped and held by pirates in Somalia for two and a half years has been freed after negotiators paid a $1.6 million ransom.
journalist, Somalia, ransom, freed
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2014-26-24
Wednesday, 24 Sep 2014 07:26 PM
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