Friday, December 18, 2009

Kidnapped Canadian Journalist Amanda Lindhout thanks Aga Khan for help in release


CALGARY – Journalist Amanda Lindhout is thanking everyone involved in her rescue from 15 months of captivity in Somalia — from the Canadian government and the Aga Khan right down to her family and the ordinary Canadians who raised money to fund her release. “I am so proud to be a Canadian,” Ms. Lindhout said in the written statement — her first public statement since her release from kidnappers last month.
“My faith in human decency was sorely tested at times during my captivity. However, after my release, I am humbly reminded that mankind is inherently good by the tremendous efforts and support of fellow Canadians.
“The belief I would one day be reunited with my family gave me the strength to endure a difficult situation that often looked hopeless. I find it hard to express the depth of my gratitude to my mom, dad, and Perry, who each put their own lives on hold and sacrificed everything so I may live to return home. They never gave up and I am blessed to be so loved.”
Ms. Lindhout also praised the efforts of the Canadian government — even though Ottawa has repeatedly said it does not pay ransoms for kidnapped citizens.
“I know there’s great debate about the role government should or shouldn’t play in a situation such as mine, and I understand the Government of Canada is being criticized both for what they did, and didn’t do to support my family,” she wrote.
“I accept they did what they could within the confines of Canadian policy, and for that I am grateful.”
Ms. Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan were kidnapped in Mogadishu in August 2008, along with local journalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was released in January.
For more than 12 months, Ms. Lindhout– a 28-year-old from Sylvan Lake, Alta., southwest of Edmonton — survived in captivity the African country, enduring death threats, fluctuating ransom demands, lurid speculation about her situation and heart-wrenching pleas to television stations for help.
Ms. Lindhout has said she was beaten numerous times and forced to sit in a corner by herself during her captivity. The room she was kept in was windowless and without light, she said, and she had very little food.
Ms. Lindhout thanked the staff of the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi “for providing Nigel and I with excellent treatment and care during our stay” and singled out the Aga Khan, the Imam of the Nizari Muslims, “for personally supporting our recovery and ensuring we were well taken care of.”
Ms. Lindhout thanked the Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi, Ross Hynes, “and his wife Vanessa, who are not only exceptional representatives for our country abroad, but inspiring examples of selfless, kind human beings. Thank you for providing my family with such wonderful support after my release.”
Source: National Post

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