US Citizen Kidnapped in Nigeria Returns to U.S.

A U.S. citizen kidnapped by gunmen in
Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta returned to Georgia on Sunday after
being held captive for a week, his family said.


William Gregory Ock
arrived in Atlanta on Sunday morning to a warm greeting from family and
friends, said his sister-in-law Tamara Lane. She said Ock, 50, is
feeling well but not yet ready to talk about his experience.

“We’re all very excited. We had a big turnout for him, and he looks great,” Lane said. “We just hope he gets some good rest.”

U.S.
Embassy officials said Ock was released after being captured in Warri
in Delta state on Jan. 20 but declined to offer further details, citing
privacy rules.

It wasn’t immediately clear
whether a ransom had been paid to secure his release, although many
companies in the region carry kidnap insurance. Authorities say
kidnappers had previously demanded a $330,000 ransom for Ock’s safe
return.

The attack took place outside a bank
branch in Warri, one of the main cities in the Niger Delta, an oil-rich
region where foreign firms pump 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day.
The gunmen ambushed Ock as he came outside, fatally shot his police
escort and then abducted him, said Charles Muka, a Delta state police
spokesman.

He said investigators suspect the
gunmen trailed him for some time before the attack, one of several
recent assaults targeting foreign workers. A recent U.S. State
Department travel advisory said there were five reported kidnappings of
U.S. citizens in Nigeria in 2011.

Lane said Ock and his family are grateful for all the help they received during this ordeal.

“The
family just wishes to thank everybody for their well wishes, prayers
and thoughts,” Lane said. “We have had such amazing support.”

SOURCE: The Associated Press