20/11/2010 12:40


One of the 19 hostages, who regained their freedom from the captivity of a gang of Niger Delta militants, said to be loyal to Sotonye Kaneji Ikiba, has narrated how the militants fed them with noodles for 10 days.

Mr. Robert Croke, an employee of Afren-Transocean Group, said all the hostages went through a horrible experience in the militants’ camp.

The hostages, among them 10 Nigerians, and two Frenchmen, were abducted between November 7 and 13 on offshore oil rigs in the Niger Delta.

He told newsmen shortly after their presentation to the public by the Joint Military Task Force in Port Harcourt, that he went through a lot of pains after a bullet deflected and hit him in his foot during the abduction.

The Canadian stated that apart from eating noodles for days, it was difficult to get water to drink and for bathing in the camp, adding that the hostages only drank water during rainfall.

Croke said, “Everyday seemed to be the same. We didn’t know what was going to happen from one day to the next. I had an injury to my foot so I spent a lot of time off my feet because of the injury.

“It was a gunshot from nowhere that hit my foot. My experience in the militants’ camp is something I will never want to go through again.”

Describing their experience as shocking, the expatriate explained that he would not want anybody to go through such an incident, expressing happiness for being released to members of his family and employers.

He said, “I believe I can speak for everybody when I say that. We were put in tents and they gave us a mattress and nothing more. I ate noodles for 10 days and that was not good. We didn’t have enough water. We were begging for water everyday and when we didn’t get it, we usually waited for the rain as we fetched some of it for drinking and for washing.”

Croke, however, noted that the militants did not torture them or inflict any bodily harm on them, stressing that except for the food that was not forthcoming when they needed it, the militants never showed any sign of aggression towards them.

“They (militants) never maltreated us. There was no abuse of any kind, except for the food that we didn’t get when we needed it. It was just something I don’t think I would ever forget,” the expatriate added.

Meanwhile, the management of Afren-Transocean Group has expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for ensuring the release of those held captive by the militants.

In a statement made available to SATURDAY PUNCH on Thursday, Afren-Transocean thanked the JMTF for its commitment towards the freedom of the 19 hostages.




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