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Thursday, June 11, 2009

'My life is worth more than any money' said Amanda

Tearful and her voice breaking, a woman claiming to be Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout said she'll die in captivity if the Canadian government doesn't pay the ransom her captors are demanding in exchange for her freedom.

"I'm in a desperate situation," she said. "I'm being kept in a dark, windowless room in chains without any clean drinking water and little or no food. I've been very sick for months without any medicine."

The woman phoned CTV news in Toronto late yesterday afternoon and read a statement in which she pleaded for Canada to pay for her release.

"The Canadian government must have some duty to help its citizens in such a crisis and my fellow citizens can assist me by putting pressure on my government," she said. "I love my country and I want to live to see it again. Without food or medicine I will die here."

She said the only way to secure her freedom was to pay the gunmen holding her hostage. She begged her family and "fellow journalists in Canada" to do all they could to bring attention to her situation and find a way to ransom her.

"[My family] must deal directly with these people as my life depends on it. My life is worth more than any money spent."

Ms. Lindhout is a freelance journalist from Sylvan Lake, Alta. She went to Somalia in August, 2008, on a freelance project for a French television station. She and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, were abducted on Aug. 23 - just three days after Ms. Lindhout's arrival - while trying to visit a displaced-persons camp outside the capital city of Mogadishu. Several other people were reportedly taken captive at the same time and have since been released.

Ms. Lindhout has been held captive in an undisclosed location since then, but has made calls to news agencies begging for assistance.

Ms. Lindhout contacted the Agence France-Presse news agency in late May, saying that she would die a prisoner if her captors didn't receive $1-million. Agence France-Presse reported the exchange sounded like a prepared statement, and that when an AFP reporter asked her for details on her health, she replied, "I cannot answer any question that you have. What I just said, that's all I can say."

In the same interview, Mr. Brennan said he had been shackled for four months and was running a high fever.

Last week the Toronto Star reported a man phoned the paper from Mogadishu offering a similar interview three days after the AFP exchange, but the Star turned down the offer for fear of compromising Ms. Lindhout's chances of freedom.

Ms. Lindhout's friends, family and supporters have used websites, Facebook pages and YouTube videos to drum up support for the woman people on the sites describe as a "brave girl" who was worried for her safety.


  1. Amanda was not allowed to answer questions or speak for herself in either the AFP or CTV interview, which is telling. This is all being carefully choreographed. No doubt Amanda is in serious, genuine danger, but does giving her captors a voice through statements forced upon her really help? Let's face it, there have been so many contradictory stories it's simply impossible to know what's really going on. Stories like this just add fuel to the fire.

    Bravo to the Toronto Star for declining an interview for fear of worsening the situation!

    Shame on CTV for not doing the same! It does NOTHING to help and only causes further grief for Amanda's family and friends while providing no new or useful information. This was not a responsible decision.

  2. She was working for a French TV station when she was abducted? That's a new wrinkle. All other reports seemed to indicate she was operating strictly as a freelancer. What's that French TV station doing to help?

  3. The Canadian government cannot and should not pay this ransom. Caving into the demands of terrorists may or may not save this woman but it will definitely make others vulnerable as kidnappings will likely increase. This woman was completely foolish to travel to such a dangerous place in the first place. Field reporters who venture into hostile areas of the world do so at their own risk. It's up to the family to raise the money - through private donations - to secure her release.

  4. Oh ... and lest I forget ...

    I am wishing and praying for Amanda on this day, Friday, June 12th, 2009 ... her 28th Birthday. I wish that it could be a happy one for her, but sadly, it is not so. My thoughts and prayers are with her and the Lindhout's (as they are most every day) and with Nigel and the Brennan's as well.

    Godspeed to them.

  5. Whoops! I seem to have misplaced my chequebook... If I am ever held hostage by Somalians, please don't attempt to save me. Let me sit and think about why I shouldn't have been there to begin with.

  6. I've seen some pretty harsh statements on various internet sites regarding Amanda and Nigel, some of which have been downright mean. I agree that these two probably took unnecessary risks and that their situation could well be a cautionary tale about going to dangerous areas with little or no support.

    But PLEASE keep in mind that these are two fellow human beings in a very dire situation with families and friends that care about them. People make mistakes, sometimes serious mistakes, but that doesn't mean they deserve to be harmed. Their families and friends certainly haven't done anything to deserve hearing such things said about their loved ones.

    As for those who would dismiss places such as Somalia as "refuse"holes that should be blown off the map, please consider the common, ordinary people who are forced to scratch out a living in these places with little in the way of basic needs while the bullet-riddled bodies pile up around them. For Amanda and Nigel, there is at least hope that they will be released and returned to safe, stable homes. For the common people of Somalia there is little or no hope for this.

    While I can't agree with "Bomb Somalia's" moniker, I do agree that we should pray for Amanda, but also for the people of Somalia who must endure hell daily.

  7. People, let us pay this damn money and save her.

  8. I do not see any bank account number here that concerned people could have donated money to. All these comments with prayers surprise me especially from the people claiming that they are journalists. Stop talking and praying publicly, just donate money. This is what may help her.

  9. What The F****k is wrong with you people. I grew up with Amanda and she is a beautiful smart girl. With out her help to show us what is going on the world there would be thousands off deaths everyday with out people knowing or caring. I would like to donate Money but don't know where to send it.. SEAN

  10. Why don't you people set up a donation fund, I would be happy to donate some money, remember if everyone pitches it will add up.

    BTW where is the family, I would like to havea word with them. I recently traveled to Iraq alone and had some problems (was kinda kidnapped but let go). I can deal with this sort of situation. What needs to be done is direct contact with their capturers.

    Anywho, if you want to talk

    call me and we cna work something out.

  11. Setting up a fund to free Amanda is illegal as it's considered funding terrorism. Which is why it hasn't been done.

  12. I believe that some of you are ignorant to the fact that no matter what you think of this situation this is still a human life and needs to be taken care of!!! It is illegal to fundraise for such thing, and I am not sure what we are to do at this point in time. But as soon as I know what needs to be done, as much as I can do on my end will be done. As little as it may be atleast I care about a human life. I understand the position not to encourage terrorism but in the same stance are we all just going to sit back while this young lady dies at her captures hands? I know I won't!!