German-US reporter held in Somalia is freed

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MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A German-American journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia more than two years ago was freed Tuesday, according to a Somali police official and a leader of the Somali pirates who had held him.

The journalist, identified by the German weekly Der Spiegel as 45-year-old Michael Scott Moore, was immediately flown to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, after being freed, Somali police official Mohamed Hassan said by phone from the town of Galkayo in north-central Somalia.

Some of the pirates who held Moore reached a deal with negotiators after a ransom was paid, said Bile Hussein, a pirate commander in the Somali coastal town of Hobyo. Moore, who was held in several locations as his captors tried to avoid detection, was most recently held near the central Somali town of Adado, Hussein said, offering no more details.

Germany's Foreign Ministry confirmed that a "German citizen who also had U.S. citizenship and who was kidnapped in Somalia was set free today" but wouldn't give further details.

Der Spiegel, for which Moore had freelanced, reported on its website Tuesday that Moore was taken by plane to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Spiegel's editor-in-chief Wolfgang Buechner said the magazine was grateful for the efforts of everyone who had helped bring about Moore's release. "We never gave up hope and we're happy now with Michael and his mother Marlis that this nightmare is finally over."

Moore, a native of Redondo Beach, California, was kidnapped in January 2012 while researching a book on piracy on a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Although piracy once was a scourge off the coast of Somalia, it has dropped significantly as a result of armed guards aboard cargo ships and an international naval armada that carries out onshore raids.


Frank Jordans and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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