A Christian humanitarian aid worker has told the story of her dramatic rescue from Somali land-based pirates in January 2012 after being held captive for over 90 days in a new book.
Jessica Buchanan sold all her possessions to become a missionary in Somalia, but spent several harrowing months being held for ransom, according to an ABC news report written after her rescue by a U.S. special forces unit, SEAL Team Six.
She tells her story in her book "Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six".
Buchanan moved to Somalia with her Swedish husband in 2010 and worked for the Danish Demining Group, an organization which works with communities to clean up land mines and unexploded weapons.
Buchanan was especially concerned for the children who were exposed to the explosives.
In her work she taught them how to avoid land mines.
She was abducted in October 2011 by armed Somali men along with fellow aid worker Poul Hogen Thisten, a Dane, while traveling in a sports utility vehicle on the way to an airport.
Somalia is a war-torn country with rival militias battling each other for power in an ongoing civil war which began in 1991.
Buchanan was interviewed for the first time since her rescue by Scott Pelley of the U.S. interview program 60 Minutes on May 12.
She told Pelley," I figured they were going to rape me and then kill me."
"And I just keep thinking, 'this can't be the end of my life'. I am only 32 years old. I haven't had any children yet."
Instead, she and Thisten, 60 years old at the time of the kidnapping, were marched into the desert and told to sleep.
The next day they met the leader of the pirates, who told them that they were not going to kill them, but only hold them for ransom.
During the 93 days they were held, Buchanan and Thisten were made to sleep in the open and were given starvation rations.
"They treated us like animals", she said. "To be so sick that you're vomiting behind bushes and you can't walk straight, and you are laying in the fetal position on the ground under a tree, and they don't care.
"Their duty was to keep me from dying because then I wasn't worth anything."
When negotiations for her release dragged on and the U.S. government learned that her health was deteriorating to the point that she could die, President Barack Obama authorized the rescue.
Buchanan's love for Africa began when she enrolled in Valley Forge University, a Christian college in Pennsylvania.
She spent a semester in Nairobi, Kenya as a student teacher and the passion she developed for the continent inspired her return.
"She could hardly talk about Africa without tears in her eyes", said the president of the college in the Daily Beast.
Buchanan went back to teach at Rosslyn Academy, the school where she had taught before, in 2007.
Her biography on the school' s website said that she was there "because of God's call on my life".
She met her husband, Erik Landemalm, while in Nairobi . He worked as a program officer for Diakonia, a Christian aid organization.
At the time of her rescue, family, former teachers and friends told of Buchanan's strong Christian testimony.
"Jessica is the kind of person who would continue to pray for them and try to bring them to the Lord rather than just leave," said Roy Merrill, Buchanan's former high school teacher told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). "And I am sure, if anything, her faith sustained her."
"She loves kids and she loves to help people", and that's the reason she was over there--just to help," said Dave Buchanan, her uncle.
"She's a wonderful Christian girl," said Madeline Mathe, another relative.
Buchanan and her husband now live in the Washington, D.C. area. Landemalm co-authored the book, along with writer Anthony Flacco.
They now lecture on their experiences and are raising their son, August, born in October, 2012.