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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Deadline for kidnapped Albertan journalist passes

A deadline for the release of kidnapped Alberta freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout has come and gone, but an international press group said it's not overly concerned they've heard no news.
Leonard Vincent, Africa desk chief of Paris-based Reporters without Borders, said the 15 day deadline for payment of the $2.5 million ransom to her Somali captors is to be taken seriously, but not literally.
"We take it very seriously. I think it was just a way of frightening us in the outside world. It wasn't really an ultimatum. I don't think they will do what they said they will do," he said Tuesday.

Lindhout, of Sylvan Lake, Alberta, was taken in August along with Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan and Somali fixer and photojournalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi. They were taken at gunpoint.
Vincent said in his experience the hostage takers need their captives to stay alive.
"These guys are protected by the hostages. They are using them as shields in a very hostile environment. They are getting a lot of pressure and they need money. The only way they can get money is to keep them alive. I mean, it's not a political thing," said Vincent.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has received no new update about Lindhout's situation. It says it is pursuing all appropriate channels to find information and secure her release.
Mackenzie Institute president John Thompson also said the kidnapping appears for-profit. As such, victims are really assets and oftentimes deadlines meant to entice a speedy response can come and go with little action.

It would be more concerning if the kidnapping were political and the captors wanted to make a statement.
"It's also always possible that they will sell the captives to somebody else," said Thompson.
In Iraq, said Thompson, kidnap victims have been sold to extremists groups. That would be a fate fraught with more uncertainties, if it were to happen in this case, he said.


  1. My best friend has also been kidnapped and is being held in Mogadishu. I have some concerns about the publicity surrounding Amanda and Nigel which I would like to express off line. Perhaps her friends and family may wish to email me (businessinfocus (at)

  2. Why is the hostage case of Canadian journalist Amanada Lindhout, who was kidnapped in Somalia last summer, of almost no importance to senior officials of the Government of Canada, but the case of UN envoy Bob Fowler, Canadian diplomat Louis Guay and the poor unwitting Nigerian driver, who were kidnapped in Niger in December, is of such high interest to the same government that it has committed major resources to it costing the Canadian taxpayer a fortune?