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Freed hostages Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan pose for photographers in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. (STR)
Freed hostages Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan pose for photographers in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. (STR)

A timeline of Amanda Lindhout's long ordeal Add to ...

• Aug. 23, 2008: Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan are kidnapped by gunmen near Modadishu, Somalia. The pair, along with Somali reporter Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi, who was acting as their translator, and the group's two drivers, are snatched on their way to visit a refugee camp.

• Sept. 8, 2008: The kidnappers demand a $2.5-million (U.S.) ransom to return the captives.

• Sept. 16, 2008: Al Jazeera television broadcasts video of Ms. Lindhout and Mr. Brennan. The tape shows armed men around the captives and accuses Canada and Australia of "taking part in the destruction of Somalia."

• Oct. 13, 2008: Press TV, an Iranian news channel, reports that if the $2.5-million ransom is not paid in 15 days, Ms. Lindhout and Mr. Brennan will be killed.

• Jan. 15, 2009: Mr. Elmi and the two Somali drivers are freed. Mr. Elmi says the Somalis were separated from Ms. Lindhout and Mr. Brennan shortly after they were kidnapped.

 

• Feb. 6, 2009: The Somali Journalists Rights Agency says it has heard rumours that Ms. Lindhout and Mr. Brennan recently tried to escape, but were recaptured.

• Feb. 23. 2009: On the six-month anniversary of the kidnapping, the Canadian Association of Journalists issues a statement urging the Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to "redouble" its efforts to secure Ms. Lindhout's release.

• May 18, 2009: The Globe and Mail publishes an interview with Mr. Elmi in which he says he communicated with Ms. Lindhout daily through improvised hand signals and that she was in good health before he was released. Mr. Elmi says he was threatened before his release and instructed to say that he was separated from the two foreigners.

• May, 24, 2009: Agence France-Presse runs an interview with Ms. Lindhout in which she says she may die in captivity and begs the federal government to bring her home. "I have been sick for months. Unless my government, the people of Canada, all my family and friends can get $1-million, I will die here, okay. That is certain," she says. The news agency says the statement seemed to be part of a prepared script.

• June 10, 2009: Ms. Lindhout phones CTV News and reads a statement begging Canada to pay for her release. "I'm in a desperate situation," she says. "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."

• July 23, 2009: Heather Brennan, Mr. Brennan's mother, breaks the family's silence by confronting Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and urging him to move the case forward.

• July 31, 2009: The Somali news site, Waagacusub.com, reports that Ms. Lindhout gave birth to a boy a week earlier and that the father is one of her captors. Journalists' rights agencies say the website is not considered a reliable source.

• Aug. 3, 2009: Ms. Lindhout calls OMNI TV and says her physical and mental health is deteriorating. "I don't want to die here and I'm afraid I'll die in captivity if I don't get help soon," she says. "I don't know how much longer I can bear this."

 

• Aug. 21, 2009: Nearly a year after the kidnapping, Ms. Lindhout's family breaks its silence and releases a statement with Mr. Brennan's family. "With little outside support, the families - who have been united as one throughout this horrendous ordeal - continue to do everything and anything to gain the earliest possible release for their loved ones Amanda and Nigel."

• Nov. 25, 2009: Ms. Lindhout and Mr. Brennan are released. "They [the kidnappers]took the money, and I don't know how much money was paid for us, which was paid by our families," she tells CTV. "It's been sort of going on for the last two-three weeks and then tonight finally everything came together." Ms. Lindhout also tells the network that she was beaten and tortured.

• Nov. 26, 2009: Ms. Lindhout and Mr. Brennan fly to Nairobi, where they receive medical attention. They are met by Ms. Lindhout's mother, Lorinda Stewart.

• Dec. 6, 2009: Mr. Brennan returns to Australia. "It's hard to believe I'm standing here safe on Australian soil," he says. "I must confess there were times when I wondered if this moment would ever come."

• Dec. 9, 2009: Ms. Lindhout returns to Canada.

Source: Globe and Mail archives

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