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Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung speaks on her phone after being released in Kabul Nov. 8, 2008.


Canadians working abroad are increasingly landing themselves in trouble, encountering armed groups, natural disasters or shifting political situations.

In 2008 alone, Canada was confronted with four hostage crises in five months.

Baghdad, Iraq, 2005

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Two Canadians were among the members of a Christian charity who were kidnapped by an armed faction. An American in the group was killed; the rest were released six months later.

Lebanon, 2006

Ottawa arranged ships to evacuate an astonishing 15,000 Canadians after an armed conflict broke out between Israel and Hezbollah.

Mogadishu, Somalia, 2008

Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout was abducted along with an Australian co-captive. They were released 15 months later, after a private ransom was paid.

North Waziristan, Pakistan, 2008

Beverly Giesbrecht, a Muslim convert from British Columbia, was kidnapped while trying to make a documentary on Islamist insurgents. She is believed to have died in captivity.

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Niger, 2008

Career diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay were kidnapped in the Sahal region of Africa. A British national captured at the same time was beheaded by an al-Qaeda faction, before the others were released following payment of a secret ransom.

Kabul, Afghanistan, 2008

CBC journalist Mellissa Fung was kidnapped after leaving a refugee camp. She was released a month later.

Haiti, 2010

The Canadian government arranged 49 flights to assist in the evacuation of 4,620 people after a powerful earthquake devastated the island nation. Fifty-eight Canadians died.

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Ghanzi, Afghanistan, 2010

A 26-year-old Canadian, Colin Rutherford, was kidnapped. In a video taken by his captors he claimed to be a tourist while a Taliban faction accused him of spying. He remains unaccounted for.

Nigeria, 2010

Newfoundlander Bob Croke was among several oil workers abducted from a rig and held for 10 days. Mr. Croke, who was shot in the foot during the abduction, was held in a jungle near where government forces were heavily shelling rebels.

Colombia, 2011

Twenty-three Colombian oil workers employed by Talisman, a Canadian company, were briefly held by guerrillas. One escaped and the rest were released.

Libya, 2011

Several hundred Canadian oil workers were placed in jeopardy as the country erupted into revolution. The Canadian government sent military and civilian planes to facilitate their departure, an operation that was widely criticized for being too slow.

This article originally appeared in the October issue of Report on Small Business magazine to accompany an article on ex-soldiers turned consultants.

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About the Author
National security reporter

Focusing on Canadian matters during the past decade, Colin Freeze has reported extensively on the interplay between government, police, spy services, and the judiciary. Colin has twice been to Afghanistan to be embedded with the Canadian military. More

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