A north-east oil worker has spoken for the first time of his terrifying ordeal after being kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria.
Aberdeen man Nick Roddy was held by a notorious militant group for three weeks after armed men stormed his ship.
At one point, the 45-year-old feared he was about to be executed after being marched into the jungle by his captors.
Last night, he relived the moment he was bundled with two other hostages in a parading ground deep in the mangrove as a line of militants pointed AK-47 rifles in their direction.
Speaking exclusively to the Press and Journal, he said: “They walked us out into clearing and they all backed off, as if a firing squad was going to be held. I could hear the rifles cocking. What went through my head was, they are going to shoot us now.”
Mr Roddy’s ordeal began just days before, at sunrise on May 23, 2007, near the end of a two-month trip off the coast of Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta.
From nowhere, members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) began circling the pipe-laying barge, before they launched their attack.
“The first thing we heard was bullets ricocheting off the side. People were running everywhere,” he said.
“I started running up the stairs towards the helideck to hide, but realised I wasn’t going to make it.
“The nearest place out of the line of fire was my cabin. I shut the door, and could hear heavy machine-gun fire coming in. The militants were pounding on the doors, and I knew it was a case of either opening the door or hiding.
“I felt that walking out was the easiest way to take control of the situation.”
Mr Roddy was bundled into a small boat with two other men. In total, 14 were kidnapped and sent to different camps. He said: “The first three days were very aggressive. People running up to you sticking guns in your face.”
One day, Mr Roddy, an offshore diving safety consultant, thought the time had come for real.
“When I thought they were going to shoot I moved in front of the other guys. But it was a purely selfish move, nothing heroic,” he said.
“I wanted to be shot first. I did not want to be the one who watched the others go.”