Ian Squire Image Via Youtube
NIGER-DELTA, NIGERIA (THE GUARDIAN, LONDON) -- A British man held hostage in Nigeria has been killed while three others have returned home safely after the west African country’s authorities negotiated their release.
The circumstances surrounding Ian Squire’s death, three weeks after his abduction, were not immediately clear.
It is understood that Squire and fellow Christian charity workers David and Shirley Donovan and Alanna Carson were working as missionaries when they were abducted from their accommodation in the southern Delta state in the early hours of 13 October.
A UK Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are supporting the families of four British people who were abducted on 13 October in Nigeria, one of whom was tragically killed.
“This has clearly been a traumatic time for all concerned, and our staff will continue to do all we can to support the families. We are grateful to the Nigerian authorities, and are unable to comment given the ongoing nature of their investigations.”
In a statement, the families of the four hostages said: “Alanna, Ian, David and Shirley were kidnapped in Nigeria some three weeks ago. We are grateful for the support received by the British high commission and help from the Nigerian authorities in negotiating their release.
“We are delighted and relieved that Alanna, David and Shirley have returned home safely. Our thoughts are now with the family and friends of Ian as we come to terms with his sad death.
“This has been a traumatic time for our loved ones who were kidnapped and for their families and friends here in the UK. We would therefore ask that the media respect our privacy as we come to terms with the news. We will not be making any further comment.”
Squire, 56, an optician from Shepperton in Surrey, had previously visited Nigeria three times to carry out work for his self-founded charity, Mission for Vision, which makes annual trips to remote regions of Africa to carry out “comprehensive eyecare programmes.
Squire had been travelling to Nigeria since 2013, when he joined forces with the Donovans’ New Foundations, a Christian health charity. During that first mission it set up an eye clinic with facilities for sight testing, dispensing and spectacle glazing.
Carson, also a devout Christian, whose social media pages are peppered with Bible quotes, worked as an optometrist at Specsavers in Leven, Fife.
Adrian McCann, the store director, said: “We are of course hugely relieved to hear that our colleague has been safely released and is back home with her family.”
David Donovan, a GP from Cambridge, founded New Foundations in 2003. It aimed to train, support and pay community healthcare workers “in regions of extreme need and lack of infrastructure”, with a focus on the Niger Delta.
According to a filing on the Charity Commission website, the charity is “expressively evangelical underpinning all its activities by declaring the gospel of salvation exclusively through Jesus Christ. All the work of the charity is to declare the love of God, without prejudice, treatment and ministering to all without precondition or discrimination.”
Among the achievements noted in the 2016 filing was the setting up of an eye clinic in Enekorogha, the town where the group were abducted by gunmen last month.
The filing said: “Training continued with three workers and Mission for Vision CEO Ian Squire again visited with a team to trial a bespoke lens grinder and upscale the refractive and lens-making skills of the small eye team.”