MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis man is due in federal court Thursday morning, accused of acts of kidnapping and keeping hostages for ransom in Somalia, including an American freelance journalist in 2012.
In an indictment filed in New York in late January and unsealed Thursday, Abdi Yusuf Hassan is charged with kidnapping conspiracy, kidnapping, hostage-taking conspiracy, hostage taking, unlawful use of firearms and firearms conspiracy in a time period from January 2012 through September 2014.
Hassan, along with several other co-conspirators who are not identified, is accused of kidnapping a freelance journalist who is an dual citizen of the United States and another country. The victim was abducted in January 2012 in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia by a group of heavily armed men.
Hassan and his co-conspirators are also accused of abducting other victims from a fishing vessel off the coast of Somalia in October of 2011.
According to the indictment, Hassan speaks English and served as a translator for the hostage-takers and regularly communicated with the journalist. The victim’s family member received a call in late-January 2012 demanding $20 million for the victim’s release.
The victim, who was eventually freed, was able to identify Hassan from a photo lineup as holding him hostage in Somalia.
Authorities say Hassan later entered the United States on or about Sept. 15, 2015. It was determined he is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Hassan claimed to have worked for the Minister of the Interior and Security for Galmudug State in Somalia. He said a major part of that job was to arrange for the release of kidnapped person in Galmudug.
He stated he was involved in arranging for the release of an American hostage, and identified the journalist by his middle name.
Hassan is in custody at the Sherburne County Jail where he’s being held as a federal inmate. Source:CBSM