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Somali pirates kidnap Manhattan Beach surfing, travel journalist

January 27, 2012 |  8:40 am

Pirates in Somalia have kidnapped a well-known travel and surfing journalist from Manhattan Beach.

Michael Scott Moore was taken hostage on Saturday, just days before two aid workers, including one American, were rescued from their Somali captors in a U.S. military raid. Moore holds dual U.S. and German citizenship and was living in Berlin most recently.

He became interested in writing a book about Somali pirates and went to central Somalia to do some research, KTLA News reported.

He had previously traveled to Africa to write a series of articles on the same subject.

Moore was en route to an airport when 15 men in two SUVs kidnapped him.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying it was concerned about Moore's safety.

"We are aware of news reports that a U.S. citizen has been kidnapped in northern Somalia and we are concerned about the individual's safety and well-being," the State Department said in a statement.

"We have been in contact with the individual's family and we are working with contacts in Kenya and Somalia to ascertain further information."

Reports from Somalia say the pirates believe that Moore is a spy.

On Monday, Mohamed Ahmed Alim, president of the autonomous Galmudug region, where Moore was abducted, tried to open negotiations with the pirates.

But they are demanding a ransom, and say they will not negotiate until the money is paid.

The amount of the desired ransom asked has not been made public.

Moore is a 1987 graduate of Mira Costa High School.

His book about surfing history, "Sweetness and Blood," was named a book of the year by the Economist in 2010.

Moore's kidnapping came days before 32-year-old American Jessica Buchanan and 60-year-old Dane Poul Thisted were rescued in a daring midnight raid by Navy SEAL Team 6 -- the same group involved in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

[Edits were made to this post at 10:02 a.m.]


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-- KTLA News