Somali fixer released after 177 days held hostage

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Somali journalist Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi was released yesterday, nearly five months after he was kidnapped.

Elmi, who was working as fixer and interpreter for a Canadian reporter Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, was released last night together with the two drivers who were with them the day they were kidnapped.

Lindhout and Brennan are still being held. Elmi told the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) that he was separated from the two foreign journalists after they were captured and that he had no idea where they are now being held.

Reporters Without Borders spoke of its relief at Elmi’s safe release, but expressed concern for Lindhout and Brennan.

“The Somali journalist’s release is obviously good news, but we will feel no relief until the kidnappers have also released the two foreign journalists,” it said.

The three journalists and their two drivers were ambushed and captured as they were returning to Mogadishu from the Afgooye refugee camp, located some 20 km southwest of the capital. Lindhout and Brennan had arrived in Somalia three days earlier. They have now been held hostage for 177 days.

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