Author and journalist Michael Scott Moore had been held by Somali kidnappers for more than 2½ years until his release earlier this week. Moore, the author of Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World, With Some Unexpected Results, formerly lived in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, freelancing, blogging and writing about surfing culture. His first novel, "Too Much of Nothing," is set in the fictional South Bay town of Calaveras Beach. He moved to Germany, had done some reporting pirates in Somalia and back there working on a book at the time of his kidnapping in 2012 in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug in central Somalia.
Moore, 45, was flown to the capital Mogadishu on Tuesday and appeared to be in good health. AP said that a ransom was paid, but the German coverage is not confirming that. "Germany's Foreign Ministry confirmed 'that a German citizen, who also possesses American citizenship and who was kidnapped in Somalia, was freed today,'" Der Spiegel reported on Tuesday. "Moore, 45, is said to be in good condition considering the circumstances, security officials said. They said that he was overjoyed to be free."
Moore was abducted in January 2012 in the Somali city of Galkayo, where he was doing research for a book on piracy. In the ensuing years of his captivity, his kidnappers released periodic photos of Moore.
The Foreign Ministry's crisis team together with American officials worked intensively to secure Moore's release during the length of his captivity. Several different negotiators were involved over the two-and-a-half year period.
Following Moore's release, SPIEGEL Editor-in-Chief Wolfgang Büchner thanked all those involved in working on behalf of the journalist during his captivity. "We never gave up hope and are now rejoicing with Michael and his family that this nightmare has finally come to an end," Büchner said in Hamburg.
"We're grateful to all the people who have worked so long to bring about Michael's release -- and thrilled that he and his family can be reunited at last," said Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Moore was reporting on a Pulitzer Center grant at the time of his abduction.
Moore had written in the U.S. for Atlantic Monthly and Miller-McCune, and longtime LA Observed readers may remember him as the blogger at Radio Free Mike (no longer online.) LA Observed had agreed to a family request for media silence on Moore's captivity.