Last weekend Somali gunmen seized two foreign journalists and their Somali colleagues in an apparently pre-planned attack. Evidence points to an inside job, perhaps by the reporters’ security detail.
For days there was no indication where Aussie Nigel Brennan and Canadian Amanda Lindhout (pictured) were being held or even why. Now it’s all becoming clearer.
“The latest tips I am getting is that the two freelance journalists are doing well in a certain house in Jowhar town 90 kilometers from Mogadishu,” one of my sources wrote last night. “As you know, that town is under the Control of the Al-Shabab movement, so from there we can guess that they are under the authority of Al Shabab, the miliary wing of the [deposed] Islamic Courts Union.”
“The journalists have not been harmed,” Trudeau said. “They are clothed, they’re being fed and they may even have access to satellite TV.” Trudeau said the journalists are being held about 80 kilometers north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Take it all with a grain of salt, though. Just a day prior, reports were that the journalists were being held near Balcad, 40 kilometers east of Mogadishu. There the original kidnappers allegedly handed their captives over to another group, perhaps Al-Shabab-affiliated, in exchange for $100,000 U.S. The implication is that the buyers would then demand a ransom in excess of $100,000 in order to profit from the transaction.
Much of this info comes from a source close to the abductees, via my fixer in Mogadishu.