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Amanda Lindhout, a freelance journalist who has reported from war zones in the Middle East and Africa, was abducted last year in Somalia. ((Red Deer Advocate/Canadian Press))

The prime minister of Somalia offered new hope Thursday that Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout, abducted outside Mogadishu almost 10 months ago, could soon be freed.

Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke told CBC News that he didn't want to speak publicly about the situation because it's "still a very sensitive case."

But he said, "I'm very optimistic that in the very near future we will have freed those two journalists."

Lindhout, Australian photographer Nigel Brennan, their fixer Abdifatah Elmi and two drivers were abducted by roadside kidnappers outside the country's capital, Mogadishu, on Aug. 23.

Sharmarke said that just a month and a half ago, he came very close to getting Lindhout and Brennan set free.

Brennan and Lindhout, a native of Red Deer, Alta., were reporting on refugees escaping factional fighting in Mogadishu when they were abducted. Elmi and the local drivers were released in January.