A U.S. citizen has been charged with kidnapping and other counts for his alleged role in the abduction of a freelance journalist who was held hostage in Somalia for nearly three years, according to federal charging documents unsealed Thursday in New York.
According to a criminal complaint, Abdi Yusuf Hassan was part of a conspiracy to kidnap the journalist in January 2012 in Galkayo, Somalia, and demand $20 million in ransom. The journalist was released Sept. 23, 2014.
While the journalist is not named in the complaint or in a superseding indictment, the dates of his capture and release, and several details outlined in the court documents, match the experiences of author Michael Scott Moore, a German-American who was abducted by pirates in Somalia while he was there writing a book about piracy. Moore’s publicist said he was unreachable for an interview Thursday.
In November, Moore confirmed to the New York Times that another man indicted in the case, Mohamed Tahlil Mohamed, was one of his captors. Mohamed and Hassan are listed as co-defendants.
According to court documents, Hassan, 51, was born in Mogadishu and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He faces six counts, including kidnapping conspiracy, hostage-taking conspiracy and unlawful use of firearms.
He was arrested in Minneapolis on Friday and will be returned to New York to face charges. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney in New York to comment on his behalf.
The charging documents say the journalist was in a vehicle on Jan. 21, 2012, in the vicinity of Galkayo when he was surrounded by a group of heavily armed men carrying what appeared to be AK-47 assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. He was abducted and struck with weapons, injuring his head and wrist.
Source: Daily Herald