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Two journalists kidnapped in Mogadishu in Aug. 2008 released

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-25

A Canadian freelance reporter and an Australian freelance photojournalist kidnapped in the Somali capital of Mogadishu in August 2008 have been released, according to a Somali parliament member.

REUTERS - Two freelance journalists kidnapped in Somalia in August 2008 were freed on Wednesday and are in a hotel in the capital Mogadishu, a Somali member of parliament and hotel sources said.

"We have now brought both foreign journalists to the Sahafi hotel. We have been working for eight days on their release, but finally succeeded," MP Ahmed Diiriye told Reuters. "I don't want to comment on how we released them now."

Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian freelance reporter, and Nigel Brennan, a freelance Australian photojournalist, were kidnapped in Mogadishu in August 2008.

A Somali journalist, Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was working as their interpreter, was also kidnapped. Elmi was released in January 2009.

The journalists were seized while travelling to camps outside Mogadishu for Somalis displaced by the violence in the Horn of Africa nation.

The member of parliament said the two journalists were brought from southern Mogadishu by militiamen and were then handed over to the people who had negotiated the release.

An employee at the Sahafi hotel, who declined to be named, told Reuters he saw a white man with a beard and a woman wearing the "hijab" in the building on Thursday evening.

Somalia has lacked an effective central government for 18 years. The Western-backed administration of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed is battling al Shabaab and other rebel groups, and controls little more than a few parts of the capital Mogadishu.

Lawless Somalia is a dangerous place for foreign aid workers and journalists as they risk being kidnapped and held by gunmen until a ransom is paid. Many local aid workers and journalists have been killed, however.

More than 200 foreign hostages, seized along with ships by pirates, are also being held off the coast of Somalia.

Date created : 2009-11-25