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Home Canadian Press Timeline of events in the kidnapping of Amanda Lindhout in Somalia

Timeline of events in the kidnapping of Amanda Lindhout in Somalia

A timeline of events in the kidnapping of Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout:

Aug. 20, 2008: Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan arrive in Somalia to scout around for compelling news stories.

Aug. 23, 2008: Lindhout, Brennan and Somalian journalist Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi are kidnapped just outside the capital city of Mogadishu. Lindhout had just visited a refugee camp outside the city and was returning home when the abduction occurred.

Sept. 8, 2008: Press freedom advocacy group Reporters without Borders says the abductors have demanded a US$2.5-million ransom for the release of Lindhout and Brennan.

Sept. 17, 2008: The Al Jazeera television network receives footage of Lindhout and Brennan surrounded by armed militants. The group claiming to be behind the video accused Canada and Australia of ”taking part in the destruction of Somalia.”

Oct. 13, 2008: Lindhout’s abductors issue a statement threatening to kill her and Brennan if they don’t receive the ransom payment within 15 days. The deadline comes and goes without payment.

January 2009: Lindhout and Brennan briefly escape captivity and make it to the steps of a mosque before being recaptured, according to details confirmed after their release. The conditions under which Lindhout was held deteriorated sharply after the escape bid.

Jan. 16, 2009: Elmi is released from captivity after negotiations with “clan elders.” Elmi tells the media that he was separated from Lindhout and Brennan and could not offer information as to where they were being held.

June 10, 2009: CTV news receives a phone call from a woman claiming to be Lindhout. The caller says she has been chained in a windowless room for months and will die unless the Canadian government helps her family come up with the ransom payment.

Aug. 4, 2009: OMNI TV receives a similar phone call from someone purporting to be Lindhout and saying she’ll die in captivity without quick intervention.

Aug. 23, 2009: The Lindhout and Brennan families issue a joint statement a year after the journalists were abducted. The statement said the families are working together to try and secure their release.

Nov. 25, 2009: Somalian officials announce that Lindhout and Brennan have been freed from captivity. It later emerged that the release was arranged by a firm specializing in hostage negotiations and that a ransom was paid, though an amount could not be confirmed.

Nov. 26, 2009: In an interview with CTV, Lindhout says that during her 15-month captivity she was repeatedly beaten and tortured. She says her abductors forced her to make the calls to Canadian media outlets because they were frustrated that ransom money wasn’t arriving quickly. She coped with her captivity by thinking of her family and dreaming of running through Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

Dec. 9, 2009: A family spokesman confirms that Lindhout is safely back on Canadian soil.

Dec. 17, 2009: Lindhout releases one of very few public statements on her ordeal, thanking those who supported her family and saying she still believed in human decency despite what happened.

May 14, 2010: Lindhout announces she’s launching a foundation to help send Somali women to university.

February 2013: For the first time, Lindhout publicly states that she suffered repeated sexual abuse during her time in captivity.

September 2013: Lindhout releases a book detailing her time as a hostage. The memoir, co-authored with Sara Corbett, is titled “A House in the Sky”.

June 12, 2015: The RCMP announce that they have laid charges against Ali Omar Ader, a Somalian national, in connection with Lindhout’s kidnapping. He is facing charges of hostage-taking for his alleged role as a negotiator.

The Canadian Press

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