Photographer Nigel Brennan Recounts the Terror of Being Abducted in Somalia
Locked Up Abroad (10pm) zeroes in on that moment when a person makes a life-changing decision, as in a really bad life-changing decision. You know, like agreeing to be a drug mule or picking up a suitcase that an acquaintance asks you to take on a trip to the Middle East.
Tonight on a special Locked Up Abroad: Nightmare in Somalia, that bad decision is not only bad but truly scary.
Australian photographer Nigel Brennan meets up with Canadian video journalist Amanda Lindhout in Mogadishu at a time when the Somalia government's rule over the city consisted of an eight-block area. Nigel and Amanda set out to document what was going on in the war-torn country outside that eight-block stretch.
Immediately, Nigel realizes that crossing that line is a huge mistake that may cost him his life.
It nearly does. Moments after crossing outside the government's border, he and Amanda are kidnapped by rebels. They are abducted and taken far from civilization to a rebel-led region that may as well be on another planet.
Nigel and Amanda are harassed and held in tiny rooms for 462 days. They live in filth and have no communication with the outside world and, for long stretches, nor with each other.
Ultimately, out of desperation, Nigel and Amanda try to escape by fleeing through a hole that Nigel digs into the bathroom wall. Their plan is hatched by leaving each other hidden handwritten notes. They escape to a mosque and uncertain freedom.
Like most Locked Up Abroad episodes, Nigel's story is incredible and frightening. But like some episodes, it also lacks context that would have made it far more compelling - context you can find in Nigel's book The Price of Life.
Behind the scenes, it's unclear if the Canadian and Australian governments are trying to free Amanda and Nigel. Their captors are asking for millions of dollars in ransom. And it's equally unclear if Amanda's family and Nigel's family are aware that they are being held for ransom, at least until late in the episode.
As a result, some of the real-life Nigel's telling of his tale feels repetitive, although his emotions are raw and genuine. Still, Locked Up Abroad, as always, is a well-made documentary reality series that underscores a worthwhile point: Listen to your gut.