Minneapolis: Muslim migrant took journalist captive, threatened to sell him to jihad group if ransom wasn’t paid

Abdi Y. Hassan entered the United States in 2015. Obama assured us that migrants were properly vetted. They weren’t.

“Somali-born U.S. citizen arrested in Minneapolis, charged with taking journalist captive,” by Paul Walsh and Liz Sawyer, Star Tribune, February 22, 2019:

A U.S. citizen is jailed in central Minnesota and charged with participating in the kidnapping of a freelance journalist in Somalia, where he was held for nearly three years over a $20 million ransom.

Abdi Y. Hassan, 51, was charged in federal court in New York with six felony counts ranging from kidnapping to hostage-taking to illegal use of firearms.

Hassan was born in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was arrested last Friday in Minneapolis and will be returned to New York for further court proceedings….

According to the criminal complaint, Hassan and other heavily armed captors abducted the journalist on Jan. 21, 2012, from a vehicle in the northern Somali city of Galkayo. One or more of the men hit their victim in the head and body with guns….

Hassan, who appeared to the journalist to be a leader among the other armed guards, directed his hostage to make a phone call and encourage family to sell a residence to pay for his release. This was one of several such calls made to family, and some of them were recorded by the FBI, which also secured videos of the hostage speaking on camera.

Threats by the hostage-takers if the $20 million was not received included withholding food and water from the journalist. The gunmen also demanded a letter signed by a high-ranking U.S. official pledging that the kidnappers would not be held responsible for the abduction.

At one point, the family member was told that the situation had “gotten very serious” and that another hostage had been tortured in front of the journalist.

A three-day deadline was set for payment of the ransom; otherwise, the journalist told the family member, the captors would sell the journalist to al-Shabab, a jihadist fundamentalist group that in 2012 pledged allegiance to the militant Islamist organization al-Qaida.

One video showed the journalist with a prayer shawl over his head and surrounded by masked and armed kidnappers. The hostage was heard saying that his captors wanted the United States and another country to pay the ransom.

Hassan arrived in the United States in September 2015. In an interview with a U.S. customs officer, he said he worked as a security minister for Galmudug state in Somalia, which includes Galkayo. He said a major part of his duties was arranging for the release of the journalist.

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