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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Talks to free Canadian journalist kidnapped in Somalia stalled

Some terrible news about Amanda's and Nigel's situation. According to Ambroise Piere, the Africa desk chief for Reporters Without Borders, said last week that talks to release has halted.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amanda A brave Girl

According to Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was alongside Amanda and Nigel when they were kidnapped
"Amanda, she was the most brave girl of us, five"
says Mr. Elmi
"She started the first connection of us. Since we were so afraid to be killed, she started to sign."

Sliding quietly to the edge of the room and sitting near the doorway, they started to converse every day with a few improvised hand signs.

"She said to me, 'Don't worry, we'll go out. Stay strong,' " said Mr. Elmi, gesturing with his hands as he spoke.

Mr. Elmi had worked for two days with Mr. Brennan and Ms. Lindhout. They had videotaped government forces, followed the African Union on a de-mining operation and visited the shelled-out ruins of a colonial-era church.

On the third day, they set out from the Shamo hotel in Mogadishu along a 30- kilometre stretch of sandy road leading west to a town to report on displaced-persons camps in the region.

But that day they left without a security detail, which is normally considered imperative for foreigners travelling even the shortest distance beyond the guarded confines of hotels in Mogadishu.

Mr. Elmi said that arrangements were made through a local fixer for security to meet them along the way. But when their car stopped less than an hour later beside a black 4x4 with tinted windows, the occupants turned out to be the kidnappers.

Ms. Lindhout was being held alone in a room furnished with only a single mattress and was dressed in a traditional Arab robe when Mr. Elmi last saw her before his release Jan. 15.

"The last days I saw Amanda, she was feeling very worried," he said, though she appeared to be in good health and unharmed.