13 Jun 2013

Kidnapped British oil worker released in Indonesia

A British oil worker kidnapped in Indonesia is released and reunites with family after two day ordeal.

The Aceh region of Indonesia

Engineer Malcolm Primrose, 61, was freed by the armed gang who took him hostage in the Aceh region at around 6am local time today.

A major police hunt was launched after the drilling supervisor was ambushed by up to six men as he travelled home from work on Tuesday.

Mr Primrose was found alone at a security post inside a palm oil plantation after his captors dropped a request for 500,000 US dollars (#320,000), local reports said.

Returned to family

His employers Medco E&P said he had returned to his family and thanked local authorities for securing his release.

A company statement said: “Medco E&P Indonesia expresses its deepest gratitude to all parties for their responsive action and quick efforts in ensuring the success of this release.”

Mr Primrose, reportedly from Stirling, has worked with several oil and gas companies in the Aceh region since 1981.


The Foreign Office said he is “safe but tired” after his release, which followed a police search of the area with the assistance of soldiers.

“We are delighted to confirm that Malcolm Primrose has been released,” a spokesman said. “Our officials are with Mr Primrose and providing consular assistance. He is safe but tired.”

The spokesman said he was not aware of any arrests.

Mr Primrose was taken at around 11am on Tuesday while en route from Medco’s oil-drilling site in Blang Simpo to his home in Seumali village.

Gun-toting gang

A gun-toting gang stopped his car in Lubuk Pempeng village and tied up his driver before bundling him into their vehicle, local reports said.

East Aceh district police chief Lieutenant Colonel Muhajir told the Associated Press the abductors contacted Mr Primrose’s family with a 500,000 US dollar ransom demand but decided to release him after hundreds of police and troops fanned out to hunt for them.

Aceh has a long history of violence, but 29 years of fighting between the government and separatist rebels ended in 2005 after both signed a peace deal.

In 2008, a French World Bank consultant was abducted by suspected former rebels in Aceh but released unharmed 24 hours later.

“With the release of Mr Primrose, Medco E&P Indonesia is hoping the security in East Aceh, especially in the operating area, would soon return to normal in order to maintain confidence in a good investment climate,” the company said in a statement.