A waitress-turned-journalist has revealed her hellish tale of 15 months being held hostage by Somali terrorists where captors gang-raped her and played Russian roulette with an assault rifle.
Amanda Lindhout naively flew to the impoverished and volatile nation in 2008 at the age of 24 after convincing an ex-boyfriend to come along on the dangerous jaunt.
Miss Lindhout and Nigel Brennan, a 36-year-old Australian photographer, were kidnapped on their third day in the country.
A Somali journalist, Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was working as their interpreter, was also kidnapped, but released after several months.
The couple’s ensuing 15 months in captivity are described in all their horrific detail in Lindhout’s memoir, A House in the Sky, out this week, according to the New York Post.
Brennan had no experience of war zones and Lindhout has spent little time in Iraq where she had been taken hostage once before.
In Mogadishu, she horrified veteran journalists with her bravado and naivety with one Robert Draper emailing his girlfriend: ‘She’s going to get herself or someone else killed.’
Somalia, which has lacked an effective central government for 18 years, is a dangerous place for foreign aid workers and journalists as they risk being kidnapped and held by gunmen until a ransom is paid.
The Western-backed administration of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is battling al Shabaab and other rebel groups, and controls little more than a few blocks of the capital.
Lindhout and Brennan were taken hostage after terrorists stalked their hotel and the pair were set up by their fixer.
They were kidnapped on August 23, 2008 as they went to visit a refugee camp outside the capital.
They are told that $3million in ransom money is wanted for them both.
The conditions quickly became brutal as they were beaten and starved and Lindhout repeatedly gang-raped.
Fearing that they may be killed, the pair decide that their chance of survival will improve if they convert to Islam.
They are immediately put in separate rooms where the torture continues. Mr Brennan is helpless as he hears Lindhout being raped through the thin walls of their prison.
One captor puts his assault rifle to her head and plays Russian roulette, the Post reported.
They are constantly moved to different houses that they give different names.
The couple lived in constant fear that they would be handed over to hardline rebels al Shabaab, which Washington claims are al Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia.
Lindhout develops a fungal infection on her face, her hair and toenails fall out while Brennan suffers dysentery.
The desperate pair hatch an escape plan after Lindhout was driven to the desert alone one night and forced to beg for her life in the dirt.
They break through a bathroom window and jump 12 feet to the ground and run screaming into a local mosque for help.
The terrified locals are unable to save the pair from their captors who are close behind and beat them savagely before taking them to a house where the rooms are no more than pitch-black cells and ridden with rats. They were pistol-whipped and locked in chains after their escape attempt.
There have been suggestions that Lindhout gave birth to a boy named Osama while she was in captivity but has never spoken of it – only said that she has endured ‘unspeakable atrocities’, the Post reported.
Finally, they were freed in November 2009 after 460 days in captivity after their families scrapped together thousands of dollars and begged for their lives.
Shortly after her release, she said: ‘I was beaten and I was tortured. It was an extremely, extremely difficult situation.’
Brennan published a memoir the Price of a Life in 2011 while Lindhout’s book is available this week. The former couple no longer speak.
She has also set up a foundation the Global Enrichment Foundation while helps women in Kenya and Somalia.
Naive journo¿s hell tale as Somalia hostage
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