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Pulitzer Center Update July 11, 2017

CNN Interviews Michael Scott Moore on His Kidnapping


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Journalist Michael Scott Moore was held hostage for 32 months by Somali pirates. He is recovering...

Image from CNN's interview with grantee Michael Scott Moore. United States, 2017.
Image from CNN's interview with grantee Michael Scott Moore. United States, 2017.

In a recent interview for "Amanpour," CNN talked with Pulitzer grantee Michael Scott Moore about his time as a hostage of Somali pirates. Moore was held hostage from 2012 to 2014 after he was kidnapped on a reporting trip to Somalia to investigate the rise of piracy in the region. In the short interview Moore spoke to CNN's Robyn Kriel about life as a hostage and the potential for another spike in pirate activity in East Africa.

Moore described the 977 days he spent as a hostage as a "brutal experience." "You wouldn't wish that one anybody," he said. "They treat hostages like cattle. They feed you just enough to keep you alive and they're not particularly nice."

Somali Pirate leader Mohammed Garfanji orchestrated Moore's kidnapping, operating under the impression that the United States government would pay a large ransom for a journalist. It would be nearly 3 years before Moore's ransom was paid off and he was free to return to his family again. "You couldn't actually go on hoping that you would be able to see them again," Moore recounted. "Because hope itself was dashed all the time. So you couldn't go through that emotional cycle very often."

CNN also reported that Somali pirates, like Moore's kidnappers, are accused of assisting growing terror organizations in East Africa such as Al Shabaab, ISIS, and Al Qaeda by providing them with weapons and other material support. Maritime experts also warn that pirates are beginning to regroup after increased naval presence in the area forced most groups to disband. This could mean another spike in kidnappings like Moore's could be imminent if the "international community doesn't respond quickly and with force."