The car weaved through traffic on side roads and then sped to a main road, where police, known there as “mopols,” had erected a roadblock. Ock’s captors crashed through the barricade and traded fire with a truck of police officers, who narrowly missed Ock.
“I felt like I was in an action movie,” Ock told The Associated Press at his west Georgia home Monday, a day after he returned to his family. As they were speeding away from the police, he said he told his guards: “I was more afraid of mopols than you guys.”
Ock, 50, was held seven days and then released Friday after he was kidnapped Jan. 20 in Warri, a main city in the Niger Delta, an oil-rich area where foreign firms pump 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day.
Ock worked in construction for decades, landing gigs all over the U.S. and as far away as Abu Dhabi. He loved the work, the camaraderie and the pay, which helped him support a wife and four daughters.
After the kidnappers escaped the city, one of them called Ock’s boss and demanded about $330,000 for his safe return.
They drove about an hour, arriving at a squat shack where he was forced into a small room.
The men dulled his senses by forcing him to smoke marijuana and drink Baron Del Valle red wine at all hours. He didn’t have many food options, either. Early in his captivity, Ock said he asked for boiled eggs. From then on, he got four eggs in the morning and four at night. As a snack, he got apples.
He was told few details about the negotiations his captors were working with his company, adding to his unease. When he was able to sleep, his captors often woke him by cranking an odd mix of local music and Dolly Parton classics.
“I was on the edge all the time,” he said.
On Thursday, Ock could tell the negotiations were heating up. His captors were celebrating and drinking moonshine. Two of the men left the house around noon, returning five hours later with wide smiles.
Around 3:30 Friday morning, the men dumped Ock in a desolate area with about $12 to hail a scooter to the nearest police station.
Ock said he wasn’t told by either his captors or his company whether a ransom was paid.
“But they seemed happy,” he said. “They let me go for a reason – and I don’t think it was because they were out of eggs.”