This is actually real... and many general travel insurance policies cover hijacking, ransom and negotiation. Since this is a possibility in the area we're headed for, I thought I might as well mention it.

I did a search for such insurance policies on AltaVista, and came up with dozens of companies that do it.

Nobody is responsible for you but you... and it's US Government policy not to negotiate or pay off terrorists. So at least think about it. I'd hate to have to leave a friend in the hands of native aggressors...

If anyone has any specific info regarding this topic, send it my way.