The Amanda Lindhout kidnap story

As other journalist kidnap stories take the limelight, the case of Amanda Lindhout and her four fellow kidnap victims in Somalia has slipped off the radar. Macleans publish a time line today of what is known in the case. In the four page article Ken Menkhaus talks about his time in Somalia some three years ago,

The last time Ken Menkhaus, a Horn of Africa specialist at Davidson College in North Carolina, visited Somalia three years ago, he had 20 armed guards and only narrowly avoided being kidnapped, fleeing the country in the middle of the night. What were once random abductions are now highly coordinated, he says, with local leaders, clan representatives, and perhaps even parts of the Somali diaspora receiving cuts of the ransom. “It clearly goes up to very high levels. It’s very big money.” But recent events have radically altered what used to be a predictable business. This spring, the U.S. declared Shabaab a terrorist organization, and assassinated its leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, with a Tomahawk missile. The group reacted by threatening to target Westerners and anyone helping them. “The rules of the game have changed, and no one knows what they are now,” says Menkhaus. link