The Mirror, 10/07/2001, p4

HOSTAGE horror survivor Ally Taylor was reunited with his wife and
young son last night after almost two years of heart-rending
Tears of joy flowed as Ally, 47, scooped four-year-old Alycito up in
his arms while giving wife Martha a much longed-for kiss.
It was the moment he feared he would never see. He was a free man after
being held for 679 days by left-wing rebels in Colombia.
After a whirlwind few days, the oil engineer, from Inverurie,
Aberdeenshire, was drained but desperate to see his elderly parents,
Sandy and Chrissie.
Ally was freed by the National Liberation Army, ELN, on Friday after
being held in the jungle for 23 months.
After his plane finally touched down at Aberdeen Airport yesterday, he
smiled: “It’s very good to be back. I’m ecstatic.
“A lot of times it went through my mind that I may never get home. But
I knew there were an awful lot of people rooting for me.
“You just have to cope. There’s nothing else you can do.
“I have not seen my family. That’s what I’m going to do right now, I’m
looking forward to that.
“It is going to be hard getting to know everyone again. My son was
two-and-a-half, now he is four-and-a-half.
“It is still sinking in but there’s a million things I want to do.”
Ally admitted that at the time, he was not 100 per cent sure he was
being freed.
His brother Charlie, who accompanied him on the flight home, added: “We
would like to thank all the people who helped us with the case.
Everybody’s been absolutely super.
“We need to spend some time as a family. Ally wants to slip back into
the community as quietly as possible.”
Dad-of-three Ally was handed over to negotiators on Thursday night and
taken to a hotel before travelling to Colombian capital Bogota.
There, on Friday, he met Charlie, British Embassy officials and
representatives of his company, Texas-based Weatherford Oil.
Ally was kidnapped by the gun-toting rebels on August 27 1999 as he
drove to work near the oil city Yopal.
His jeep was forced to a halt and an armed gang bundled him into the
boot of their car.
He was taken to an abandoned farm in the jungle and moved to a
different location every few weeks.
His employer later received a ransom note for pounds 2million from ELN,
who sent regular “proof-of-life” photographs but refused to meet for
Weatherford was banned from paying the cash because, with 3,700 kidnaps
in the last year alone, the Colombian government had forbidden
companies from giving in to terrorists.
In April, a video interview with Ally showed him to be tired but
determined to keep hoping for his freedom.
Ally, divorced from his first wife, Shona, was driven away to a secret
location last night.
Other former hostages, including Terry Waite, have offered their
assistance in helping him adjust to everyday life again.


Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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