Alleged ringleader of Nigerian gang that killed British missionary arrested

The alleged ringleader of a Nigerian gang that kidnapped and killed a British missionary has been arrested after a two month-long manhunt.

The suspect, who is wanted for the murder of Surrey optician Ian Squire and the kidnapping of three other British missionaries, was held by Nigerian security forces in the southern Delta region on Thursday.

Mr Squire, 57, and his three companions were working at a clinic in the town of Enekoragha., from where an armed gang abducted them on October 13 last year.  

On the second day of their ordeal, he was shot dead by the gang after trying to cheer his fellow hostages by playing “Amazing Grace” on his acoustic guitar. 

In a subsequent exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph, one of the surviving missionaries, David Donovan, said he believed that the kidnap gang had shot at Mr Squire in a panic after fearing that the noise of the music would give the gang’s location away. 

Ian Squire, a British optician who was killed three weeks after being kidnapped in Nigeria

Ian Squire, a British optician who was killed three weeks after being kidnapped in Nigeria

Credit:
PA

Mr Donovan, a GP from Cambridgeshire, was released after three weeks in captivity, along with his wife Shirley, also 57, and fellow missionary Alanna Carson, from Fife. 

The Foreign Office declined to comment on news of the arrest of the ringleader of the gang, who were allegedly part of a criminal cult that worshipped a local warrior-god. 

However, local sources in the Delta area told The Telegraph that the operation took place after two of the ringleader’s accomplices were arrested earlier in a Delta village buying food.

Those arrests then led to security forces to the ringleader’s nearby camp, where they surrounded him and forced him to surrender. 

David Donovan and his wife Shirley were fellow British missionaries who were kidnapped with their colleague Ian Squire

David Donovan and his wife Shirley were fellow British missionaries who were kidnapped with their colleague Ian Squire

Credit:
David Rose

The operation came a week after the gang had allegedly killed four soldiers after leading them into an ambush. According to one local newspaper report, the gang also killed an undercover Nigerian agent during the ambush and then beheaded him, leaving his head on display near a village.

Mr Squire, a devout Christian, ran his own Christian eyesight charity, Mission for Vision. He had teamed up four years ago with the Donovan’s charity, New Foundations, which runs a medical and training practice in Enekoragha.

After Mr Squire’s death, locals in Enekoragha held a large mourning parade to protest his death and voice their upset at the closure of the clinic. It reopened again this week.

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