Nigel Brennan

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Nigel Brennan
Born (1972-05-18) 18 May 1972 (age 45)
Nationality Australian
Education Griffith University
Occupation Photojournalist and author

Nigel Brennan (born 18 May 1972)[1] is an Australian photojournalist and author. In 2008, Islamist insurgents in southern Somalia kidnapped him, and Canadian freelance journalist, Amanda Lindhout. He was released 15 months later after a ransom payment was given to Brennan’s captors. He then went on to write a memoir recounting his hostage experience. In 2013, Brennan competed in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and spoke after the end of the Atlantic leg about his abduction and its psychological aftermath.[2][3][4]


On 23 August 2008, three days after having arrived in Mogadishu, Nigel Brennan and Amanda Lindhout were ambushed and kidnapped along with their Somali translator, Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, their driver, Mahad Isse, and a driver from the Shamo Hotel, Marwali. They were on their way to conduct interviews at an IDP camp when they were stopped by gunmen.[5] The abductors were teenage insurgents affiliated with the Hizbul Islam fundamentalist group.[6] Brennan and Lindhout were held in isolation, mostly in a room 3 x 5 meters, and often in the dark.[7]

Both Brennan and Lindhout converted to Islam to ingratiate themselves with their captors.[8] An escape attempt through a toilet window ended with their dramatic recapture in a mosque. Elmi and the two drivers were released on 15 January 2009.[9] The kidnappers later lowered the ransom demand to $1 million.[10]

After being held hostage for 462 days,[11] the ransom was paid. They were both released on 25 November 2009. Australian Greens parliamentary leader Senator Bob Brown and businessman Dick Smith loaned money to secure their release.[12]

The Australian Government have a no-ransom policy which led them to having very little involvement to Brennan's case.[13][14][15]


In 2011, Brennan released the memoir, The Price of Life: A True Story of Kidnap & Ransom. He co-authored it with his sister, Nicky Bonney, and sister-in-law, Kellie Brennan, which detailed his psychological journey, from the first weeks to the end - as well as the family's perspective.[16]


British documentary/docudrama television series Banged Up Abroad featured the personal account of photojournalist Nigel Brennan in Series 7 (2012) Episode 18: Somalia/Nightmare in Somalia. [17] Actor Tom Oakley played the role of Brennan. [18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kidnap journalist's 'sick in shackles'". The Australian Broadcast Corporation. 27 May 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Kidnap victim Nigel Brennan speaks of ordeal, anger at federal government". 1 December 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Andrew Collins and Chloe Papas (28 November 2013). "From hostage to sailor: the extraordinary story of Nigel Brennan". ABC. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Tim Elliott (25 June 2011). "Hostage for 462 days ... tale of survival out of Africa". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Canadian journalist reported abducted in Somalia". 23 August 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "". The Star. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Nigel Brennan, Kellie Brennan and Nicole Bonney (2011). The Price of Life:A True Story of Kidnap & Ransom. Penguin Australia Pty Ltd. 
  8. ^ Nigel Brennan, Kellie Brennan and Nicole Bonney (2011). The Price of Life:A True Story of Kidnap & Ransom. Penguin Australia Pty Ltd. 
  9. ^ "". 16 January 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Dawn Walton (4 August 2009). "". Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Nigel Brennan Biography". ICMI Speakers 7 Entertainers. 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "Freed Somalia hostage apologises to family". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 Dec 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "Piracy Emerging from Somalia: International and Indian Responses" (PDF). Sage Publications. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Australian Government Response to the Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee: Held Hostage". Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. September 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Australia's no-ransom policy". Parliament of Australia. 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
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