Kidnapped, By Colin Freeman

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The Independent Culture

As of now, writes Colin Freeman, more than 700 mariners are being held hostage on the Somali coast. As the Sunday Telegraph's foreign correspondent, kidnapped by Somali pirates while reporting on that very subject, Freeman speaks from experience.

He blends his back-story (from door-stepping celebrities for the Evening Standard to freelancing in Iraq) with the nation's history - its colonial domination by Mussolini's fascist forces and war-ravaged recent past which has left it on the brink of anarchy.

His storytelling brings laddish humour to otherwise serious proceedings, from the complexities of toilette in arid mountains to talking football with his abductors, and also gives a frank account of the nuts and bolts of foreign news reporting.