Kidnappers losing patience with Ottawa, expert claims
Mark Iype, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, June 12, 2009
An expert from an international media aid organization says that the plight of kidnapped Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout is quickly becoming dire, and he is worried that the patience of the militia holding her is running out.
“They are really getting impatient,” Ambroise Pierre, the Africa expert with Reporters Without Border said yesterday from his office in Paris. “The kidnappers wanted to negotiate sooner than this.”
Pierre says his sources in Somalia say the militia holding her wants to get rid of her, but it also wants to get paid. He thinks that the kidnappers are surprised the situation has dragged.
He says kidnappings in the East African country are usually resolved within six weeks.
Lindhout, a freelance reporter from Sylvan Lake, Alta., was kidnapped last August with an Australian colleague, Nigel Brennan, while working on a story about internally displaced people.
A woman claiming to be Lindhout called CTV News late yesterday to make a tearful plea for her release.
“I’ve been held hostage by gunmen in Somalia for nearly 10 months,” the woman, claiming to be Lindhout, said.
“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.”
The woman begs Ottawa to help her family pay her ransom.
Pierre says he thinks it is highly likely that the woman who made the call is Lindhout. The call comes just weeks after a similar plea was made by Lindhout and Brennan in a short phone call with Agence France-Presse, in which they spoke of horrible conditions and their deteriorating health.
A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs says that officials “continue to pursue all the appropriate channels” to determine Lindhout’s welfare.