U.S. Negotiating Release of American Writer in Somalia

Jan 27, 2012 6:44pm
ht pirates thg 120112 wblog U.S. Negotiating Release of American Writer in Somalia

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Days after the rescue of a U.S. aid worker held hostage in Somalia, officials are now working on the release of an American writer taken captive by pirates and now under the threat of death.

The writer was only supposed to be in the country for a few weeks to work on a book on piracy, though he’d reportedly been warned of the dangers he faced. On Saturday, he was grabbed by heavily armed men who’d overpowered his security.

At his family’s request, ABC News is withholding his name because relatives believe identifying  him would increase his value to his abductors. A U.S. official told ABC News today that there was great concern for any American held hostage, but that there was hope the writer would be released unharmed.

The kidnapping occurred  days before American aid worker Jessica Buchanan and Danish colleague Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, were rescued by Seal Team 6 in a daring mission at a remote encampment deep in northern Somalia.

Buchanan is currently at a U.S. base with her family, but her rescue early Wednesday seemed to put the American writer in greater danger.

“If they try again, we will all die together,” a spokesman for the pirates said. The pirates have changed locations three times.

A U.S. official told ABC News today that the United States was aware of the writer’s abduction when Buchanan was rescued.

“We did know but could not find any links or collusion between the two groups holding the hostages,” the official said tonight.

Early last year off the coast of Oman, four Americans were hijacked aboard their yacht. The FBI was negotiating their release when pirates launched a rocket-propelled grenade at a nearby U.S. ship.

A team of Navy Seals tried to rescue the Americans, but all four — two couples from California and Washington — were killed.

In 2010, 13 months after they were kidnapped by Somali pirates, British pair Paul and Rachel Chandler were released following the payment of an undisclosed ransom.

“That anger I felt that they were so cruel, so callous, just so despicable,” Rachel Chandler said at the time. “You have to find a way of dealing with that.”

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