Stories of bandits arrested after attempting to contact their former victims are by no means uncommon, but for American journalist Michael Scott Moore, it was a terrible flashback of the two and a half years he was held hostage by Somali pirates. One of the kidnappers, Mohamed Tahlil, was arrested in New York in the United States After Adding Ex-Hostage to Facebook.
The story appears in criminal documents related to the arrest of the pirate, which happened in recent months, at a date also unspecified. Many snippets of the report were suppressed, but it is known that the conversation lasted for months and involved the exchange of images and information not only about the criminal but also about other pirates involved in the abduction and the days that the reporter passed under the yoke there.
Tahlil approached the victim identifying himself as a “friend” and claiming to want to talk to him. The journalist acknowledged the former guard for the only available view image in the profile and described the conversation as kind and humorous, sometimes written in poor English and sometimes in Somali, with Moore using an online translator to communicate.
Moore was kidnapped in January 2012 in the town of Galkayo, more than 600 km from the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu. He was working on a report on piracy when he was captured, spending the next two years under the captivity of the kidnappers, having been transferred between different locations and spent some time offshore on a pirate ship with other hostages.
Souvenirs of the captivity are part of the official document, such as Moore’s comments about breaking his wrist during capture, and handing over items such as pens, books, medicines and cookies by the guard, acts seen as a sign of good faith. It is not known, however, what the kidnapper was doing in New York or how the conversations contributed to its location.
According to the chat, still, much of the original pirate group killed each other because of disputes over dividing the $ 1.2 million paid as a ransom to Moore. According to the investigation, the report coincides with the information of the death of some pirates in a dispute for money soon after the release of the journalist. As part of the conditions, the criminals also demanded a letter signed by then-US President Barack Obama that they would be acquitted of any consequence of the abduction.
Tahlil is being held without bail and has been indicted for crimes such as kidnapping, hostage-taking, conspiracy, and others, and may face life in prison. Moore said he was not as happy as he could imagine with the kidnapper’s arrest and the news of the deaths of other criminals involved in his two and a half years in Somalia.
His book on the case, The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Arrested on the Pirate Coast Somali, a free translation, was released in the United States in July and is not yet available in Brazil. The publications, as well as Moore’s own testimony to the FBI after his release, are cited as providential investigations into pirates and crimes committed by them against American citizens, common targets of kidnapping because of the high dollar value in the country.