Kidnapped Journos in Somalia: Inside Job?

25.08.08

Categorie: Africa, Reporters |

hotel-shamo-security-mogadishu-nov-22-2007.JPGWhen I was in Somalia last year, the road connecting Mogadishu to the refugee town of Afgooye belonged to the occupying Ethiopian army. There were foot patrols and checkpoints everywhere. It was on this road that two foreign journalists, Aussie Nigel Brennan and Canadian Amanda Lindhout, plus two Somali bodyguards and a translator, were abducted this weekend. Which, in my opinion, makes it unlikely that the kidnapping was an impromptu grab. To get away with this crime in broad daylight, with Ethiopians breathing down their necks, the attackers needed to plan ahead.

But how would any kidnappers know where the journalists would be … and when? That kind of fine-grain intel points to an inside job. It’s only my suspicion, but apparently I’m not alone. “Some speculations say that the bodyguards themselves were also involved in the kidnappings,” my friend Mohamed Omar Hussein, a journalist, writes from Mogadishu.

I need to get confirmation of this, but it seems likely that the bodyguards were affiliated with the Shamo hotel. When I worked out of the Shamo last winter, the hotel provided my bodyguards for $10 per man per day (pictured). Dressed in U.S. style army uniforms and toting AK-47s, my security guys technically were infantrymen in the army of the Transitional Federal Government. But they spent all day every day hanging around the Shamo, protecting the hotel and its clients. Considering the TFG’s poor finances, it’s likely that the Shamo was paying the majority of the soldiers’ salaries.

If it was an inside job by TFG gunmen, then it’s probably wrong to blame the kidnapping on the Al Shabab insurgent group. Al Shabab and TFG foot soldiers would make a very strange match indeed.

But what do the abductors want? Hopefully, a ransom.

(Photo: me)

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16 Responses to “Kidnapped Journos in Somalia: Inside Job?”

  1. [...] Related: Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  2. [...] Related: U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  3. [...] Related: Puntland raids pirate-held ship No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  4. [...] Two months ago two foreign journalists and their Somali colleagues were abducted while reporting on refugees outside Mogadishu. Aussie Nigel Brennan and Canadian Amanda Lindhout and as many as three Somalis were grabbed on the heavily traveled Afgooye Road, apparently under the noses of Ethiopian troops. My friend Mohamed Omar Hussein, a reporter in Mogadishu, relayed rumors that the grab was an inside job — that the journos’ bodyguards, provided by the popular Shamo Hotel, perhaps were behind the crime. [...]

  5. [...] Related: Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  6. [...] Related: Cholera strikes Somalia Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  7. [...] Related: Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  8. [...] Related: Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims 2 Comments so far Leave a comment [...]

  9. [...] Related: Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  10. [...] Related: Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: Enemies or Allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Somalia series Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  11. [...] Now I can confirm that that suspicion is true. I have reached an important source, whose name I cannot divulge. “For sure, before the abduction happen[ed], Al-Shabab men was (sic) waiting the car in middle of the road,” the source tells me. “They were well informed, they received some information from the hotel security guys.” If my source is right — and I believe he is — Islamic group Al Shabab had a hand in the crime, with a big boost from hotel security. Related: Somali journo released Inside job rumors persist Hope for kidnapped journos Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  12. [...] Related: Verified: kidnapping an inside job Somali journo released Inside job rumors persist Hope for kidnapped journos Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims New prez = hope for Somalia A.U. rescues Somali lawmakers Building a Somali coast guard? Somali government falls Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  13. [...] Related: Fact vs. Fantasy in Somalia Verified: kidnapping an inside job Somali journo released Inside job rumors persist Hope for kidnapped journos Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims New prez = hope for Somalia A.U. rescues Somali lawmakers Building a Somali coast guard? Somali government falls Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  14. [...] Related: Somali Was First American Suicide Bomber Fact vs. Fantasy in Somalia Verified: kidnapping an inside job Somali journo released Inside job rumors persist Hope for kidnapped journos Who are Al Shabab? Abducted journos’ vulnerability Journos kidnapped! Problems retrieving journos Kidnapping: inside job? Ransom pending? Developments in kidnapping case Ignored victims New prez = hope for Somalia A.U. rescues Somali lawmakers Building a Somali coast guard? Somali government falls Peacekeepers attacked Islamists occupy Mogadishu police stations Fighting threatens Somalia food shipments Somali president out Don’t go to Somalia Americans join Somali insurgency Ethiopians change mind about withdrawal Kenyan fighters in Somalia Good news, bad news, in Islamists’ return Invading Somalia a bad idea Pirates and Islamists: enemies or allies? Somalis welcome Islamists’ return Port fall might help piracy problem Is secret sea lane working against pirates? Puntland raids pirates No easy solutions to piracy problem What I learned from a Somali warlord Secret sea lane for piracy protection Peacekeepers, insurgents swap mortar fire U.S. planes terrify Somalis Ethiopians withdraw? Peace talks break down Ship rescues Somalis Who are Al Shabab? 1 Comment so far Leave a comment [...]

  15. Darwin Jones says:

    It’s definitely a frightening prospect (and a likely one) to realize that these abductions are done with inside help.

    Darwin Jones
    My Little Rock Jobs

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