A SCOTTISH oil worker who was kidnapped at gunpoint in Indonesia has told how he feared for his life, after he was dramatically released unharmed by his abductors.
Malcolm Primrose, 61, originally from Stirling, was freed late on Wednesday by gunmen who had ambushed his car on Tuesday as he left a drilling site in Aceh, northern Sumatra.
He was reunited with wife Nurasiah early yesterday after the kidnap gang left him at a security post inside a palm oil plantation as more than 150 police and soldiers scoured the area in a bid to find him.
The Scot, a senior drilling supervisor for Medco Exploration and Production, was described by a Foreign Office spokesman as “safe but tired” following his sudden release.
A tearful Mr Primrose told a hastily arranged press conference: “It’s an experience that I don’t think anybody should have to go through. You don’t know if you are ever going to see your family again.
“I can only thank God that everything turned out all right.”
Mr Primrose, dressed in blue overalls and wearing a traditional Indonesian scarf, added: “Whilst I was afraid, they didn’t hurt me – they fed me.”
Wife Nurasiah said kidnappers had telephoned her to demand a ransom of one billion rupiah (£64,000). They called back later and lowered the demand to a quarter of that, about £16,000. When she refused to pay, the kidnap gang appeared to have simply given up. A police spokesman confirmed no money exchanged hands.
According to local reports, Mr Primrose and his driver were ambushed by up to six gunmen, armed with rifles and a pistol, as the Scot was being driven home from a drilling site in Aceh. They tied up the driver and left him in the car.
The British Embassy in Jakarta said: “We would like to place on record our warm thanks for the support received from the Indonesian authorities, as well as from the governor of Aceh and his staff, the chief of Aceh police and his team, and the many others who have worked so hard to secure his release.”
A spokesman for Medco Exploration also welcomed Mr Primrose’s release. He said: “Medco E&P Indonesia expresses its deepest gratitude to all parties for their quick efforts in ensuring this release.”
The spokesman said Mr Primrose was employed by Blade Energy Indonesia, which was contracted to Medco in the region.
He added: “Malcolm has been working in oil and gas companies in the Aceh region as a drilling expert since 1981. With his release, we are hoping the security in East Aceh would soon return to normal in order to maintain confidence.”
Kidnappings are rare in energy-rich Aceh which has been peaceful since 2005 when Islamist rebels signed a deal ending three decades of conflict. Aceh was given autonomy and the right to Sharia law.