Michael Scott Moore: Former SF Weekly Contributor Released After Years of Captivity in Somalia

An American-German journalist who once worked as a theater critic for SF Weekly is finally free, two-and-a-half years after he was kidnapped in Somalia.

Moore was researching a book on piracy when he was abducted in 2012, in the Somali city of Galkayo. According to the LA Times, Moore was on his way to the airport when he was ambushed by 15 men in 2 SUVs. Somali press reported that the men were pirates who believed Moore was a spy; they demanded an undisclosed ransom in exchange for his release.

[jump] Other reports say it's unclear which armed group the captors belonged to; various militants have been fighting for control of Somalia since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.

Negotiators from the German foreign ministry and the U.S. worked assiduously for two years to secure Moore's release, while his captors released periodic photos of the journalist, usually surrounded by armed militia with his hands tied behind his back.

The protracted wait and stream of demoralizing hostage photos led some of Moore's colleagues to despair. “He’s lost in a world of complicated politics, idiotic gangsters, media empires content to ignore the problem rather than report on it, and a public numb after dozens of stories of journalists being kidnapped and released,” Robert Beckhusen and Matthew Gault wrote in an essay for the blog War Is Boring.

Today, Moore appears to be in good condition. He arrived to Mogadishu in a small plane and was taken in for a medical and psychological evaluation.

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