The following is a list of known foreign hostages captured in Somalia, particularly since the start of the second and third phases of the civil war.


  • April 1, 2008: British environmentalist Murray Watson and his Kenyan colleague Patrick Amukhuma, employees of an Indian company under contract with the UN, were seized by unknown gunmen while conducting a survey in southern Somalia's conflict zones. Their driver, translator and two guards were not taken. Watson and Amukhuma have not been seen or heard from since. Their kidnappers' demands ranged from $2 million to $4 million in exchange for the men's release.[1][2]
  • August 23, 2008: Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan and Somali photojournalist Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi were seized near Mogadishu along with two Somali drivers. Abdifatah and the two drivers were released on January 15, 2009.[3][4] Lindhout and Brennan were released 15 months later on November 25, 2009 after a $600,000 ransom was paid. The abductors were teenage insurgents from the Hizbul Islam fundamentalist group.[5]
  • July 14, 2009: Gunmen kidnapped two French security consultants working for the government from the Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu. The men were subsequently taken by Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam militants following a skirmish. Both men were then split up between Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.[6][7][8] One of the hostages, Marc Aubriere, escaped from his kidnappers while they slept on August 26, 2009. The other hostage, Denis Allex, was killed in a botched rescue attempt on January 11, 2013.[9][10]
  • October 23, 2009: A British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, was kidnapped from their 38 ft sailing boat off the archipelago of the Seychelles during the night. The distress signal was sent out at 22h00. Naval forces and Search & Rescue centres did not swing into full action until the story broke on 27 October and pirates informed the media that the couple was in their hands. The yacht S/Y Lynn Rival was found the next day by naval forces, abandoned off the Central Somali Coast. The two hostages had been first taken onto a previously hijacked merchant ship, the MV Kota Wajar, and then onto land near Ceel Huur, north of Harardhere. The couple were released on 14 November 2010, after a reported £600,000 ransom was paid.[11][12][13]
  • September 11, 2011: Gunmen stormed a bungalow on Kiwayu island, Kenya, shot British publishing executive David Tebbutt dead, and took his wife Judith hostage to a hideout in Somalia. Police suspect that militants with the Al-Shabaab Islamist group were responsible.[14] On March 21, 2012, Judith Tebbutt's captors released her after her family reportedly paid a ransom.[15]
  • October 1, 2011: Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu was kidnapped from Kenya's Manda Island and taken to Somalia. Police suspect Al-Shabaab gunmen were responsible.[14] Dedieu, who was paraplegic, died later in the month.[16]
  • October 13, 2011: Two Spanish aid workers employed by Médecins Sans Frontières were kidnapped from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and taken to Somalia. Their Kenyan driver was wounded but was not abducted. Police suspect Al-Shabaab militants are behind the abductions. The two aid workers were released on July 19, 2013.[14][17]
  • October 25, 2011: Two aid workers with the Danish Refugee Council's demining unit, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were abducted in the north-central Galkayo area. Gunmen from the Al-Shabaab Islamist group were alleged to be responsible.[18][19] The hostages were later rescued by US Navy SEALs on January 25, 2012, and taken to Camp Lemonnier at Djibouti's Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport.[20]
  • January 11, 2012: In retaliation for the coordinated Operation Linda Nchi inside Somalia, about 100 heavily armed Al-Shabaab gunmen raided a police camp in Gerille, Wajir District, near the Somalia-Kenya border. The militants bombed the camp, killed six people and wounded three others, and stole firearms, ammunition and a vehicle from the post.[21] They also abducted between three individuals.[22] According to local media reports, the insurgents later paraded the hostages in the southern Somalian town of Bardhere (BardherBardere).[21] On January 19, the militants released photos of two of their captives, who were identified as Kenyan government officials Fredrick Irungu Wainaina and Edward Mule Yesse. A third hostage, Dekow Mohammed, was of Somali descent. He was released on January 17, 2012.[22][23] Two of the hostages reportedly included a chief and a district officer.[21] Wainaina and Yesse were released on July 30, 2013.[24]
  • January 11, 2013: Al-Shabaab fighters killed intelligence officer Denis Allex and two French soldiers in an unsuccessful rescue attempt by French forces. A DGSE operative, Allex had been held since 2009, when he was taken hostage by the insurgents while training Somali government troops. In exchange for his release, Al-Shabaab had demanded cessation of French support for the Somali authorities and the complete withdrawal from Somalia of AMISOM forces. According to the French Ministry of Defence, 17 militants were also slain in the crossfire.[25][26]

See also

  • Captive, documentary series in which the Paul and Rachel Chandler hostage situation was featured.


  1. ^ https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/31/the-watson-files-somalia-climate-change-conflict-war/
  2. ^ "British and Kenyan abducted in Somalia - Afrik-news.com : Africa news, Maghreb news - The african daily newspaper". En.afrik.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  3. ^ Herald, Calgary (2008-10-22). "Kidnapped journalist, colleagues poorly treated: Reports". Canada.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  4. ^ "Captors free Somali journalist but no word on Canadian colleague - World - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  5. ^ "Amanda Lindhout Speaks out for women in Somalia". Toronto Star. May 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ "ANOTHER French James Bond: Agent 'escapes' terrorists in Somalia - by walking to safety using stars for navigation". Daily Mail. London. April 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "French agent Marc Aubriere's amazing barefoot escape through Mogadishu". The Australian. August 31, 2009. 
  8. ^ "TIMELINE-Foreign hostages held by kidnappers in Somalia". Reuters. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  9. ^ "Africa Somalia hostage tells of escape". BBC News. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  10. ^ Cố vấn Pháp tại Somalia vượt thoát khỏi tay phiến quân (in Vietnamese)
  11. ^ "Help Paul and Rachel Chandler return home safely!". Savethechandlers.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  12. ^ "Somalia kidnap: Paul and Rachel Chandler freed - Channel 4 News". Channel4.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  13. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey (2011-10-05). "Taken by Pirates". The New York Times. 
  14. ^ a b c "Africa piracy: foreigners being held hostage". Telegraph.co.uk. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Kidnapped British Woman Freed in Somalia
  16. ^ "BBC News - French hostage Marie Dedieu held in Somalia dies". BBC News. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Spanish hostages freed from Somalia". BBC News. July 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Somali elders stand up against kidnapping of aid workers". Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  19. ^ the CNN Wire Staff (31 October 2011). "Aid workers kidnapped in Somalia are alive and well - CNN.com". CNN. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "Somalia: Western hostages freed in US military raid". BBC News. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012. Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia three months ago have been freed in a rare US military raid. 
  21. ^ a b c Somalia: Shabaab Displays Four Abducted Kenyans
  22. ^ a b Somalia: Al Shabaab release photos of hostages
  23. ^ "Man's Ordeal in Al-Shabaab Captivity". Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  24. ^ "allAfrica.com: Kenyan Officials Abducted By Shabaab in 2012 Freed". allAfrica.com. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  25. ^ John Irish, Abdi Sheikh (12 January 2013). "France says hostage killed during rescue bid in Somalia". Reuters. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "French soldier killed and hostage feared dead in Somalia". BBC News. January 12, 2013.