Canada arrests Somali for alleged role in journalist kidnap

Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:47am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a Somali national for what they say was his role in the 2008 hostage-taking in Somalia of two freelance journalists, Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Australian Nigel Brennan.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Friday they arrested Ali Omar Ader in Ottawa on Thursday. RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia told reporters the arrest followed extraterritorial undercover operations, but he would not say whether the Somali government had been kept informed.

Ader was one of the main negotiators during the 15 months the two journalists were in captivity, Malizia said. He said Ader had been in Ottawa for a few days.

Upon their release for ransom in November 2009, Lindhout and Brennan recounted having been beaten, tortured and nearly starved.

Lindhout and Brennan were kidnapped on Aug. 23, 2008. Lindhout told the Toronto Star after her release that her kidnappers were Islamic fundamentalists affiliated with the Hizbul-Islam insurgent group.

Brennan tweeted the following message after news of the arrest: "Amazing news of the arrest of Ali Omar Ader, aka Adan the Somali criminal involved in my kidnapping. Finally Justice will be served!"

In 2013 Lindhout recounted her experience in "A House in the Sky," which went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama; and Peter Galloway)

Freed hostages, Amanda Lindhout (L), a Canadian freelance reporter, and Nigel Brennan, a freelance Australian photojournalist smile to photographers after their release in Somalia's capital Mogadishu in a November 26, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Government of Somalia/Handout via Reuters