Amanda Lindhout reveals details of her 15-month ordeal, held hostage in Somalia with Australian photo journalist Nigel Brennan. Five years after their Somali kidnap nightmare, she feared for her life.
The former journalist said she was kept gagged, hog-tied and was repeatedly gang-raped by her teenage captors inside a filthy compound.
At one point, Lindhout was threatened with a knife held to her throat and told that unless her family paid a $1 million ransom, she would be killed within the week.
The truth was, I was glad for the lack of competition. I figured I could make a short visit and report from the edges of disaster.
Brennan released a book two years ago about his ordeal and now Lindhout has written a book in which she details her hellish experiences while being forced to negotiate for her ransom money to be paid.
The pair previously had a relationship and in August 2008, they met in Kenya to travel to Somalia to work as freelance journalists. Lindhout was new to this work. A year earlier, she had quit her job as a waitress and was kidnapped in Iraq.
So she moved.
“I understood that it was a hostile, dangerous place and few reporters dared go there,” she writes in her memoir, A House in the Sky. “The truth was, I was glad for the lack of competition. I figured I could make a short visit and report from the edges of disaster. I’d do stories that mattered, that moved people.”
However, just four days into their Somali trip, Brennan and Lindhout were kidnapped. She says they were heading to a hospital. Their car was surrounded by a group of armed men who abducted them and kept them hostage in a compound.
Lindhout has until now refrained from speaking about the specifics of her ordeal. Her new book, co-written by Sara Corbett, is due for release in North America next week.
In it, she outlines being repeatedly raped and tortured by the gang of teenage boys who held her captive.
“The houses they picked for us were mostly deserted buildings in tucked-away villages, where all of us – Nigel, me, plus the eight young men and one middle-aged captain who guarded us – would remain invisible,” she wrote.