Cape Town, September 23, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of German-American journalist Michael Scott Moore, who was kidnapped by Somali pirates in the city of Galkayo in January 2012. Moore’s abduction was not previously reported by most media outlets at the request of those seeking his release.
The German magazine Spiegel Online reported that a crisis team from the German Foreign Ministry worked with U.S. officials to secure Moore’s release. The journalist arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, today and was taken for a health checkup, according to news reports.
An Associated Press report citing Bile Hussein, a pirate commander in the Somali town of Hobyo, said that some of Moore’s abductors “reached a deal with negotiators after ransom was paid.”
The German Foreign Ministry did not immediately disclose any details on whether a ransom was paid.
“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,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Sue Valentine. “We wish him a speedy and safe return to his family and loved ones.”
Moore had traveled to Somalia in early January 2012 after receiving a Pulitzer grant to report for The Atlantic magazine on piracy in Somalia. He was kidnapped on the road to the local airport by Somali pirates on January 21, news reports said.
The journalist’s abductors initially demanded a ransom of US$20 million and periodically released photos and videos of Moore throughout his captivity, according to a May 2012 report by the Kenya-based news website Somalia Report. In one video, Moore can be seen saying that his kidnappers were threatening to sell him to Al-Shabaab if the ransom was not paid. That demand was not met.