‘Brave’ Amanda Lindhout

May 18, 2009

Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, the Somali fixer who was kidnapped alongside Canadian freelance Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan in Somalia in August 2008, has been talking about the ordeal. Elmi says he was threatened before his release and told to keep quiet about the condition and whereabouts of Lindhout and Brennan. However, he broke his silence in Nairobi recently, saying he communictaed with Lindhout daily during his 146 days in captivity using sign language,

Mr. Elmi now says that before being released, he and two Somali colleagues were threatened and instructed on what to say once freed.  "They said to us, ‘You have to say these words,’ " said Mr. Elmi, who recently fled Somalia for Nairobi. " ‘If you say another word, we will damage your family,’ they said…"

…Though held together with his Somali colleagues in a separate room and not permitted to speak, Mr. Elmi said they quickly established a means of covert communication with Ms. Lindhout.

"Amanda, she was the most brave girl of us five," Mr. Elmi said. "She started the first connection of us. Since we were so afraid to be killed, she started to sign."

Sliding quietly to the edge of the room and sitting near the doorway, they started to converse every day with a few improvised hand signs.

"She said to me, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll go out. Stay strong,’ " said Mr. Elmi, gesturing with his hands as he spoke. link

We continue to update the timeline in this case in the graphic above and on the original post about the kidnapping.



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