Somali man arrested in Canada for journalists’ kidnapping

Journalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan ultimately were released in November 2009 after months of captivity

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Canadian federal police announced Friday the arrest of a Somali national in the 2008 kidnappings of two journalists, a Canadian and an Australian.

Ali Omar Ader had been in Ottawa for “a few days” before he was taken into custody on Thursday by the national security unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Apprehending Ader “required the deployment of a number of investigative techniques over a long period of time,” the RCMP said.

Officials said several Canadian agencies, as well as Australian federal police, were involved.

“This investigation posed a number of significant challenges as it was carried out in an extremely high risk environment in a country (Somalia) plagued with political instability,” RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia told a press conference.

Journalists Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan, ultimately were released in November 2009 after months of captivity, one of the longest such ordeals suffered by foreign kidnap victims.

Canada’s Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told reporters Ader would be prosecuted under Canada’s Criminal Code for kidnapping and raping Lindhout.

Ader also allegedly played a role in ransom talks seeking money in exchange for the journalists’ release.

The Canadian and Australian had been abducted near Mogadishu, Somalia 15 months earlier as they traveled to camps housing refugees who had fled fighting in the lawless Somali capital.

Kidnapping foreigners at that time was rampant in Somalia, a Horn of Africa country ravaged by cycles of devastating violence and lawlessness following the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Since returning to Australia, Brennan has recounted the psychological trauma of being pistol-whipped and spending months chained up in isolation.

Lindhout said she had been beaten and tortured by her captors, who she has called criminals pretending to be freedom fighters.

She acknowledged that her family and Brennan’s paid a $1 million ransom for their freedom.

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