Freed journalist feared being sold on in Somalia

Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:54pm EST
 
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By David Clarke

NAIROBI (Reuters) - An Australian freelance journalist kidnapped in Somalia in August last year feared he would be handed over to hardline rebels when he was bundled into a car Wednesday night.

Instead, photojournalist Nigel Brennan and Canadian freelance reporter Amanda Lindhout were driven to a hotel in Mogadishu and released -- ending their 15 month ordeal.

"Tonight we were ripped out of our rooms, stripped of everything, told to put on new clothes and then thrown in a car and then driven -- we had no idea what was going on," Brennan told Reuters by phone from the hotel.

"We were always kept by the same people. That was especially one of my concerns toward the end. They were talking about selling us to another group," he said.

The two journalists were seized in August 2008 on their way to a camp outside the capital for Somalis uprooted by the violence that has plagued the Horn of Africa nation.

Somalia has lacked an effective central government for 18 years and is a dangerous place for foreign aid workers and journalists as they risk being kidnapped by one of the myriad armed groups and held for ransom.

TORTURE

Brennan said he had been tortured physically and mentally. He said he was kept in chains and had been totally isolated from Lindhout for the past 10 months, after they tried to escape.   Continued...

 
<p>Kidnapped Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan is seen in this undated handout photo obtained August 24, 2008. REUTERS/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Handout</p>