In 2012, German-American journalist Michael Scott Moore was investigating pirate kidnappings in Somalia when he himself was taken hostage by Somali pirates. Michael was taken at gunpoint, held in terrible conditions and in many different locations including at one point – on a ship. A few days into his captivity, SEAL Team 6 successfully rescued 2 aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted also held by Somali pirates but in a different location. During that rescue, 9 pirates were killed. As a result, the pirates holding Michael were determined to make sure there wasn’t going to be another successful rescue. He ended up being held in captivity for 977 days.
This week, we have the honour of speaking to Michael himself. He walks us through his captivity, how he was taken, the terrible conditions, the different locations he was held in, the other hostages who were with him, the $20 million dollar ransom demand, how his mother was working to secure his release, the media blackout around his kidnapping, keeping fit while in captivity, his failed escape attempt and how the pirates responded, getting sick, finding the will to survive and his eventual release.
Michael also talks about his ongoing recovery from this trauma, his advice for other former hostages, military vs diplomatic options for hostage rescue, a SEAL Team 6 plan to rescue him, the US government’s stance on not negotiating with hostage-takers, payment of ransoms as well as media coverage. We also talk about the importance of journalism and how the public can help.
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