Nigel Brennan pleads for time

FORMER Somalian hostage Nigel Brennan has spoken out for the first time since his release last week after 15 months in captivity.

“There are no words that accurately describe the feeling of being free,” Mr Brennan said in a statement.

Mr Brennan was taken hostage in August 2008 while working as a freelance photojournalist in Mogadishu.

Businessman Dick Smith and Tasmanian senator Bob Brown financially backed the family who paid a reported $600,000 ransom to free Mr Brennan and fellow journalist Amanda Lindhout, who was kidnapped with him.

“I know there was an enormous effort from countless people to secure my release,” Mr Brennan said.

“It is truly humbling to think that so many people I don’t even know have done this for myself and my family.

Reports surfaced this year that Mr Brennan was unwell and had been beaten and tortured.

“There have been countless kind queries from people regarding my health and I’m happy to report that I’m feeling better and getting stronger every day,” he said.

“As for my family and friends, this has been an exceptionally difficult ordeal for them, they did everything they could to achieve their goal and I am so pleased they did not give up.”

Mr Brennan also asked for privacy so he can adjust to his newfound freedom.

“I would like to ask the media to understand that it is going to be some time before I am able to talk about my experience,” he said.

“In the interim I would greatly appreciate if you would all respect my wishes for privacy and space to come to terms with the situation I now find myself in.

“My family is also going to need space, and privacy and I ask you to respect that as well.

“Thank you so very much to everyone.”

It is understood Mr Brennan, who was sent to hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, will not return home for at least 10 days.

His sister-in-law Kellie Brennan told News Ltd Nigel needed a medical clearance, and it is unknown when it would be granted.

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