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Somali pirates holding American writer Michael Scott Moore today refused to negotiate with Galmudug state officials and elders from Hawiye clan until a ransom has been paid, according to one of the pirates who spoke to Somalia Report on Monday night.
“Today Galmudug state officials, led by Galmudug President Mohamed Ahmed Alim, and traditional leaders from Hawiye clan tried to open negotiations and release the American hostage, but the pirates refused. They won't release the journalist without a paid ransom,” said a pirate based in Harardhere.
The pirate group holding the writer, led by Ali-Duulaaye, are now discussing the amount of ransom they planning to demand.
“They are still in Ceel-Huur and talking about how much they plan to ask for the American. A group of armed pirates from Harardhere arrived also in Ceel-Huur and joined Ali-Duulaaye’s group which is holding the American writer," he explained.
The pirate also warned that any rescue attempts would be futile.
"Because we sent so many more pirates to the area, Galmudug can’t use any power to release the hostage. If they try or there is an attack by any western people, the second plan will be to move on board the MV Albedo,” said the pirate referring to the hijacked ship that now holds four foreign aid workers including one American and two Spanish women as well as one Danish man.
Other pirates in Harardhere told Somalia Report that Ali-Duulaaye and his group received backup support from other pirates who sent their men to Ceel-Huur only hours after the Galmudug president vowed to release Mr. Moore by force. Moore has written a number of articles for Der Speigel with a recently published article being about a Somali politician from Galmadug residing in Berlin who was working to benefit the town of Hobyo with an enlarged port facility. Der Speigel has made the editorial decision not to report on his kidnapping.
Galmudug Declares War
This news comes only hours after the government of Galmudug state today declared an all-out war against Somali pirates and vowed to forcibly release the kidnapped American if peaceful means fail.
Galmudug Interior Minister Abshir Dini Awale told Somalia Report that his government will fight piracy in the towns under their control and called for international support if piracy is to be defeated.
“We will fight pirates with what we have, but international support is vital," explained the minister. "If we received support from the international community, we would have already finished with piracy.”
Galmudug President Mohamed Ahmed Alim, who granted an exclusive interview to Somalia Report two days ago, reaffirmed the war on pirates during a public announcement today.
“Let me be clear, we will fight the pirates with all we have got. I call on mothers and fathers to advise their sons against joining these unscrupulous and stupid pirates,” he told the town residents. "Religious leaders, you should not only advise people against joining al-Shabaab but you should also advise against pirates,” he added.
He said that progress in Galmudug is impossible under the prevailing circumstances.
“If they kidnap aid workers and everyone who wants to help us, what progress can we make? They brought humiliation and dishonor to our homes," said the president.
He reiterated that force will be used if Mr. Moore, kidnapped by gunmen on Saturday, is not released peacefully.
“We sent forces to the areas where the US national is being held and many reinforcements are coming to help secure his release,” he added.
Last month, Galmudug police arrested eight pirates during a security sweep in Galkayo after announcing plans to fight pirates in early December.