UK Journo Recounts 40 Days With Somali Captors

40 uncertain days spent in caves, mountains
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2009 6:45 PM CST
British reporter Colin Freeman of The Sunday Telegraph, centre, and Spanish freelance photographer Jose Cendon, second right, are seen in northern Somalia Sunday Jan 4, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – On assignment covering Somali pirates, Daily Telegraph reporter Colin Freeman and his photographer were kidnapped by their own bodyguards and carted off to a barren mountain range. For 40 days, Freeman clung to his good humor as he tried to befriend his mercurial captors. “The more you come across as a human being," Freeman writes, "the harder they find it to kill you.”

Phone calls back home gave Freeman hope, but "hope creates severe withdrawal symptoms if it runs out again." Freeman was haunted by fears of torture after his captors threatened to sell him to UK-hating pirates. Finally the pair was freed by negotiators and flew to Nairobi, where a doctor asked if they were bored, without torture or violence. They burst out laughing: "This time, though, we weren't simply trying to keep our spirits up."