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Somalia16 January 2009

Kidnappers holding two foreign journalists release their Somali fixer

Reporters Without Borders welcomes yesterday’s release of kidnapped Somali journalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi and voices renewed concern for the two foreign journalists - Canadian reporter Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan - who were abducted with him on 23 August and are still being held.

“The Somali journalist’s release is obviously good news, but we will feel no relief until the kidnappers have also released the two foreign journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Our concern about their fate is as strong as ever given the growing instability in Mogadishu. All the actors involved should combine their efforts in order to obtain their release as soon as possible.”

Elmi, who was working as fixer and interpreter for Lindhout and Brennan, was released last night together with the two drivers who were with them the day they were kidnapped, Mahad Isse and “Marwali”. Elmi, who is in good health, was let go near Mogadishu’s Bakara market.

He told the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Somalia, that he was separated from the two foreign journalists after they were captured and that he had no idea where they are now being held.

The three journalists and their two drivers were ambushed and captured as they were returning to Mogadishu from the Afgooye refugee camp, located some 20 km southwest of the capital. Lindhout and Brennan had arrived in Somalia three days earlier. They have now been held hostage for 177 days.



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