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American writer still being held in Somalia; US rescue for him?


Michael Scott Moore

Lost in the coverage of the Navy SEAL rescue mission in Somalia is the fact that another American was kidnapped there four days ago and is being held for ransom.

It’s also not clear if President Obama’s vow on Tuesday to protect U.S. citizens would extend to a rescue operation on his behalf.

Michael Scott Moore, an American writer who started his career tracking the surfing world and who was in Somalia to report about piracy, was kidnapped on Saturday.

In a statement released by the White House after the overnight rescue of American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagen Thisted of Denmark, Obama on Wednesday vowed: "The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice."

Asked Wednesday about Moore at a press briefing, a State Department spokeswoman had few details to share.

"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," said Victoria Nuland. "We have been in contact with the individual’s family and we are working with contacts in Kenya and Somalia to ascertain further information."

"This is not a new problem, unfortunately, which is why we have to be vigilant and have to be prepared to do the kinds of operations like we saw last night," she added.

A man described as one of Moore's captors told somaliareport.com on Sunday that his group was working on how much to demand for his release.

"If they try or there is an attack by any Western people," he said, " the second plan will be to move on board the MV Albedo," a hijacked ship being used to hold other foreign hostages.

Moore had been reporting for the German magazine Der Spiegel when he was abducted on a road as he was heading to an airport. He was kidnapped in the same area as Buchanan but is being held by different captors, somaliareport.com reported.

Moore holds dual U.S. and German citizenship. He now lives in Berlin but grew up in Southern California and started his writing career covering the surfing world.

NBC News associate producer Catherine Chomiak contributed to this report.

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