Speakers Profile - Nigel Brennan

Australia's longest-held hostage outside a war period

Travels From:

Fee Range: E

In 2008, Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan and Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout were held hostage for 462 days in Somalia.

Four days after arriving in the Somalian capital, Nigel and Amanda were ambushed just outside the city, on the way to photograph internally displaced camps. They were held hostage for the next 462 days - making Nigel the longest held living captive in Australian history, outside a prisoner of war situation.

Nigel and Lindhout were held in isolation, generally in a room 3x5 meters, and often in the dark.

During his time as a hostage, Nigel suffered both mental and physical torture at the hands of his captors. After an escape attempt in January 2009, in which they were both recaptured, Nigel and Amanda were chained around the ankles until their eventual release - ten months later. He and Lindhout were finally released on the 26th November 2009, after their families paid a ransom amounting to over $600 000 (USD).

Nigel's story is immensely captivating and emotional. His account of being captured, held hostage, a near escape and eventual release, provide a fascinating insight into the strength and personal determination to stay alive.

"The evening hosted was a group of "Young Professionals" from the finance, legal, accounting and HR/Recruitment fields with the intention of simply providing a networking platform. We wanted to move away from the traditional business type speaker and Nigel was a great choice.

The whole group was captivated by Nigel's talk and what he had been through. There were a few tears, laughs and everyone walked away with a sense of both satisfaction for the luxuries we have and desire to value things like family more. Nigel was not just a guest speaker but a participant in the night and the group was very pleased to be able to share a drink and chat with Nigel before and after his presentation".

Simon Moore