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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Somalia: Abducted Canadian journalist is pregnant

MOGADISHU (Mareeg)--Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian journalist who was abducted by Somali gunmen in the Somali capital Mogadishu about eight months ago is reportedly pregnant after she was apparently raped by her abductors, sources told Mareeg’s office in Mogadishu on Wednesday.

Sources say the Canadian journalist Amanda and an Australian photojournalist are being held by the militia in the northeastern neighbourhood of Suqa Holaha neighborhood in Mogadishu.

The abductors have demanded $2.5 million of ransom from the two journalists to release.

Amanda and the Australian photojournalist once escaped from a house in Suqa Holaha neighnourhood and entered a mosque near by, but they were recaptured again.

File photo of Amanda

The militia who kidnapped the journalists claims they are al-shabab Islamists. Some reports suggest that one the abductors made Amanda as his wife.

The journalists were kidnapped between the Afgoye district and the capital city with their Somali photojournalist, Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was acting as a translator for the two in September 2008, but Abdifitah was released after 5 months.

Abdiftah said that he did not see Amanda and colleague since the militia abducted them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A dangerous year for journalists

Geneva 2009 is taking on signs of being more dangerous for journalists than 2008, the Press Eblem Campaign said on thursday.

In the first three months of 2009, 35 journalists have been killed, including eight in march. Two died in Afghanistan, two in Iraq, and one each in India Pakistan, Russia and Honduras.

During the first quarter of last year, 20 journalists were killed. In total in 2008, 91 died on duty.

The Geneva-based campaign said kidnapping also remained a looming threat to reporters.

Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Geoffrey Brennan, abducted last summer, were still in captivity in Somalia. Khadija Abdul Qahaar, also from Canada, has been abducted in Pakistan since late 2008.

Two American reporters were also captured last month by North Korea, which claimed they had illegally crossed the border from China.

The campaign asked the United Nations Human Rights Council to hold a special session on the threats to journalists during its summer.