Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Archives

'I'm afraid I'll die in captivity,' kidnapped Canadian says Add to ...

Almost a year into her captivity in Somalia, Amanda Lindhout said her health, both physical and mental, is deteriorating.

In a phone call to a Canadian media outlet, the kidnapped freelance journalist from Sylvan Lake, Alta., also said she is shackled and being kept in a dark room.

"I don't want to die here and I'm afraid I'll die in captivity if I don't get help soon," she told OMNI TV on Monday. "I don't know how much longer I can bear this."

Ms. Lindhout, 28, and Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan, were grabbed near Mogadishu, the Somali capital, on Aug. 23, 2008. Their local translator and driver were later released. A demand for $2.5-million was initially made.

In the call, Ms. Lindhout pleaded with her family to deal directly with her captors and Ottawa to intervene to pay a $1-million ransom. The teary statement was similar to previous calls to other media agencies.

"My government must have some duty to help me," Ms. Lindhout said, "I love my country and I want to return so I'm begging, I'm begging my government to come to my aid."

She said her captives have threatened to kill her if the ransom isn't paid.

Last month, Ms. Brennan's mother broke the family's silence and urged Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to move the case forward.

Ms. Lindhout's family and friends have not spoken to the media.

In the call, Ms. Lindhout also complained of fever, dysentery, severe stomach problems and an abscessed tooth.

The Somali news site, Waagacusub.com , reported Friday that Ms. Lindhout had given birth the week before to a boy, and that the father is one of her captors.

"She is very contented with her marriage relationship with one of her captors," a captor said.

Rumours about pregnancy and escape have been circulating for months, but no Western source has confirmed them.

Daud Abdi Daud, executive director of the Somali Journalists' Rights Agency, does not consider Waagacusub a reliable source, but said that Ms. Lindhout "is still alive and in good condition."

Reporters Without Borders, which has been monitoring the case, does not consider that agency to be reliable.

Emma Welford, a spokeswoman with Foreign Affairs, said Ottawa was aware of these reports, but had no comment.

Long-term kidnappings are not unheard of.

In 1991, former Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson was released after more than six years in captivity in Beirut.

Clara Rojas, who was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia when she was working as an aide to presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, was freed in 2008. During her six years in jungle camps she gave birth to a son, Emmanuel, who was fathered by one of her captors, but taken from her when he was eight months old.

She gained custody of the child after her release. In her upcoming book, Captive , Ms. Rojas doesn't discuss Emmanuel's father in depth.

"I'm still analyzing my feelings about this," she told the Sunday Times in April.

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories