Search for missing journalists hits ‘crucial’ stage

Jorge Barrera ,  Canwest News Service

Published: Friday, August 29, 2008

The hunt for a Canadian journalist, an Australian photographer, their Somalian fixer and driver kidnapped at gunpoint in Somalia has reached a sensitive and "crucial’ stage, says a spokesman for Reporters Without Borders.

Alberta native Amanda Lindhout, 27, and Australian Nigel Brennan, 35, were kidnapped last weekend about 20 kilometres west of Mogadishu as they were leaving a refugee camp in the Afgoye district.

Leonard Vincent, head of the Africa desk for Reporters Without Borders, told Canwest News Service Friday that the search had entered a hopeful, but perilous phase.

Amanda Lindhout seen in a 2003 photo in Calgary, was abducted at gun point on Aug. 23 in Somalia.

," said Vincent. "It is a crucial moment and it would be very dangerous to disclose more than that."

Vincent said more information would likely emerge "in the coming days" and that his organization was in touch with diplomats involved with efforts to free the journalists.

"If everything continues like it is now, we can expect a positive outcome," he said.

The journalists were reportedly last seen in good health about 90 kilometres north of Mogadishu where they were said to be staying in a comfortable house that had access to satellite television. Their captors, however, have since moved locations and were believed to be searching for a safe place from which to issue ransom demands.

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