British schoolteacher David Bolam, 63, has been freed after being kidnapped by militants in Libya last May, BBC News reported. His release was secured following the payment of ransom money. However, the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or FCO -- self-described as promoting the country’s “interests overseas, supporting our citizens and businesses around the globe” -- said it was not involved in the negotiations.
It is thus unclear who gave the ransom money and who received it, especially given the identity of militant group holding Bolam in Libya is unknown.
A teacher at the now-closed International School Benghazi, Bolam continued to work there despite threats and violence against foreigners. For example, the school’s chemistry teacher, Ronnie Smith, was shot and killed last December, BBC News reported.
Ged O’Connor Challis, a fellow teacher at the International School Benghazi who left Libya the same month, described Bolam as “single-minded and stubborn” -- but one of the best English teachers he knew.
“We are glad that David Bolam is safe and well after his ordeal, and that he has been reunited with his family. We have been supporting his family since he was taken,” the FCO said in a statement.
At the FCO’s request, Bolam's kidnapping was not made public before the release of a video in August. As reported by the Guardian, Bolam said in the video: “I am a British teacher. My health is good at the moment. I have been here a very long time. I ask the British government and Prime Minister David Cameron ... please allow me to go back to my family.”
Bolam arrived in the U.K. Thursday and is with his family at an undisclosed location, the Associated Press reported.
There were concerns for Bolam’s safety after the recent spate of Islamic State beheading videos. Alan Henning, a British aid worker, was reportedly killed in a latest video released Friday.