Piracy REPORT:Piracy
Pirates Kidnap American Journalist in Galkayo
Taken By Captors To Ceel Huur, 150 South of Hobyo
By JD , ABDI ABTIDOON 01/21/2012
Michael Scott Moore, writer for Der Spiegel

On Saturday, Michael Scott Moore an American writer/journalist with dual US/German citizenship was abducted by 15 men in two Land Cruisers south of Galkayo in the Galmadug region.

Michael Scott Moore was moved from Hobyo to Harardheere on Sunday after efforts were made to liberate him with the assistance of Galmudug's president and local elders. Initial efforts to release him failed while captive in Hobyo and he was then moved further south to Ceel Huur on the coast of Mudug region, 50km east of Harardhere. They left from Hobyo today and they arrived at Ceel Huur around 4 PM.

Ceel Huur

The leader of this group is Ali Duulaaye, a well-known commander from Sa’ad clan who has a share from the pirate-held Seychelles-flagged FV ARIDE. The group has selected Mohamed Garfanje (a pirate commander from the Saleeban clan and from Ceel Huur) as their negotiator.

“They are now discussing the ransom. There are a number of traditional leaders from Sa’ad and Saleban clans (two sub-clans of Hawiye) who tried to open negotiation and release the journalist, but the kidnappers refused all offers when they were in Hobyo

An insider explained to Somalia Report, "The pirates are well aware that the Galmudug president and his administration are trying to release Moore, so that is why they took the American hostage to Ceel Huur village,”

“Now they are on their own land, but if they feel some fear about military tactics they agreed together to move the hostage onboard the MV Albedo."

This group of pirates accuse the American journalist of being a spy and studying pirate activities in the Mudug region. “This group of holding the journalist are also holding another two hostages on land, the crew of FV Aride, for whom they haven’t received any ransom as yet. So it will be difficult to release this American unless they get a ransom,” added the pirate.

Mr. Moore grew up in Manhattan Beach, California and is best known for writing a book on surfing. He is an active blogger and wrote for a number of magazines and websites. He was a 2006-2007 Fulbright fellow in Berlin. Currently he blogs and has written extensively for Der Spiegel Online, among others publications.

Local authorities in the region stated that the victim held both US and German passports. Somalia Report has been able to confirm his identity and that he was working on a book related to piracy in the region. He was kidnapped on the road to the local airport, where he was intending to meet with an Indian colleague. His Somali associate was beaten when he tried to prevent the kidnappers from abducting them.

Locals initially speculated that the American was an engineer tasked with evaluating construction of a port in Hobyo district, 250 km south east of Galkayo probably because he had written a recent article about the project. The rudimentary port has been in operation for more than a century and there is interest in expanding it to accomodate larger vessels for WFP deliveries. It appears, however, that he works as a journalist and has been profiled in numerous publications. A local pirate group is currently holding another American, Jessica Buchanan, 32, along with a 60 year-old Dane, Poul Hagen Thisted, from the aid agency Danish Demining Group (DDG). Both DDG aid workers were seized on the way to the airport in Galkayo last year. The crew of MV Leopard, Judith Telbutt, two aid workers and two Spanish NGOs' snatched from Kenya are supposed to be in central Somalia. The other three hostages, a French intelligence agent and two South African yacht crew members have not been located.

Somalia has quickly become a hotspots for kidnapping foreigners.