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Kidnapped British couple tell how fellow hostage was shot dead

A British couple kidnapped and held to ransom in Nigeria have spoken of their ordeal, including the moment one of their fellow missionaries was shot dead.

Christian charity workers David and Shirley Donovan were abducted from their accommodation in Delta State in the south of the country in the early hours of October 13.

They were held with Ian Squire and Alanna Carson as the four were working as missionary medics in west Africa.

Dr Donovan told the Daily Telegraph how the group’s spirits were lifted when the kidnappers returned a guitar and Mr Squire played Amazing Grace.

He told the paper: “It was the perfect song, and at that point things began to look not quite as bad.

“But then, after Ian finished playing, he stood up, and a salvo of gunshots killed him instantly. We didn’t see who did it, but it was obvious that someone in the gang had shot him. It was terrifying to see.

“We jumped out of the shack and into the water as we thought they were coming for us next, but a member of the gang came and put us back in there with Ian for the rest of the day.”

Dr Donovan, 57, and his 58-year-old wife started medical charity New Foundations in 2003 after downsizing – and said it was their faith that kept them going after early setbacks including severe illness and thefts.

During their kidnapping, the group kept their spirits up by playing a version of BBC Radio 4 quiz The Unbelievable Truth, where contestants have to tell fact from fiction, with Mrs Donovan saying the game was “prosaic but comforting”.

The captives were freed after the kidnappers told them a ransom had been paid, and were met by two SUVs, with Mr Donovan saying the smell of the leather and the air conditioning “was like stepping from one world into another”.

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