Be wary of reports on Lindhout: Watchdog - Metro US

Be wary of reports on Lindhout: Watchdog

A desperate phone call and bold-faced media reports this week put renewed focus on an Alberta journalist held for ransom a world away.

Conflicting stories from Mogadishu-based news sources have Reporters Without Borders Africa desk correspondent Ambroise Pierre cautioning concerned global citizens to view seemingly trustworthy information with a critical eye.

The same week, a woman claiming to be Sylvan Lake native Amanda Lindhout placed a distress call to a Canadian television station pleading for her government to pay a $1-million ransom, while a Somali news agency reported she gave birth, is happily married to one of her captors and is now a devout Muslim.

“There is provocation here,” Pierre said, adding Somali news agencies are often tied to criminal organizations. “(The kidnappers) are attempting to provoke her family and the Canadian government.

We should be extremely cautious.”

The one-year anniversary of Lindhout’s kidnapping falls on Aug. 28, Pierre said, urging the public to keep her memory alive.

“The government is not receiving public pressure it needs to free her,” said Calgary counterterrorism expert Daniel Clayton, adding kidnappers haven’t provided proof she’s alive.

Earlier this week, Foreign Affairs officials declined to tell Metro what is being done to secure her release.

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