Sunday marked the first anniversary of the kidnapping of Alberta journalist Amanda Lindhout, who was captured along with Australian photographer Nigel Brennan in Somalia.
The pair was kidnapped near Mogadishu while working on a story about a refugee camp. A film clip released about a month later showed them in the company of men with guns.
In June, a woman claiming to be Lindhout phoned CTV News saying she was in poor health and pleading with the Canadian government to help bring her home. Lindhout was a freelance reporter whose stories appeared on television and in the Red Deer Advocate newspaper.
A year later, Lindhout's family and Brennan's are still trying to secure the pair's release. The families, who had not spoken publicly about the disappearances, released a statement on the anniversary.
The families "are united as one" and "continue to work tirelessly … throughout this horrendous ordeal" to free Lindhout and Brennan, "with little outside support," the statement said.
"Our thoughts and all our love are with Amanda and Nigel today, just as they have been for the past 365 days, and just as they will be until they are safely home with us."
They also asked the media to respect their privacy "during this particularly emotional time."
Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the welfare of the hostages. "It's strange that [this] case … has gone on for a year because usually these cases in Somalia don't last that long, so it's a little puzzling to us," said Dennis Trudeau, a vice-president of the organization's Canadian branch.
The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the case, other than to say it continues to pursue all necessary channels to obtain the journalists' freedom.