Nigel Brennan says it was harrowing to watch a kidnapped man plead for his life on video.
Nigel Brennan says it was harrowing to watch a kidnapped man plead for his life on video. Mike Knott

Brennan feels for hostage

THE video of a kidnapped Australian man pleading for his life has brought back chilling memories for former NewsMail photographer Nigel Brennan.

Television networks yesterday broadcast Warren Rodwell's emotional video plea that was sent to his Filipino wife, after he was taken from his home on the southern island of Mindanao on December 5.

In the video, a distressed-looking Mr Rodwell says his captors are demanding $US2 million as ransom.

"To my family, please do whatever to raise the two million US dollars they are asking for my release as soon as possible," he says.

Mr Brennan, who was kidnapped and held in Somalia for 15 months, said it was harrowing for him to watch the video.

He said he understood how Mr Rodwell must be feeling.

"It's a pretty horrific track to walk down," he said.

Mr Brennan said Mr Rodwell would be living under constant stress and fear.

He said he had not thought about contacting Mr Rodwell's family, but he was willing to offer them his support.

"It's such a tricky situation. I'm sure the government is working behind the scenes," he said.

Mr Brennan said he hoped the Federal Government had learnt something from his experience throughout 2008 and 2009.

He said the government would not want to send any signals that ransom money was being raised, but statistically the majority of kidnappings ended in some sort of ransom payment.

"Hopefully they're providing psychological support to the family," he said.

"It's such an unknown quantity when you're in this place."

Mr Brennan has previously been critical of the government for its lack of support and communication with his family, and for refusing to hand over information once they had decided to use a private firm to arrange his release.

The Federal Government has confirmed it is standing by a long-standing, bipartisan policy of not paying ransoms.

Human Services Minister Brendan O'Connor said Australian embassy officials in the Philippines were working with local authorities to do what they could to ensure Mr Rodwell's release.

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