Chad (MNN) — The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) is very pleased to announce the release of Stephen Godbold, a missionary held captive in northern Chad for more than nine months.
Godbold was released by his captors in Chad on Thursday evening, July 24th. He was released near the town of Bardai in northern Chad and is presently a guest of local officials in Bardai.
Arrangements are in process to send an aircraft to Bardai to evacuate Godbold to N'Djamena. From there he will travel to the United States via Europe for reunion with family and colleagues, debriefings and medical checks.
Godbold was captured on October 10, 2007 in Zoumri in the Tibesti region of Northern Chad. He was assisting a Chadian non-governmental organization transporting water well drilling equipment into the Tibesti in order to provide clean and safe water to residents of the region. He is 49 years old and has served in Chad since 1991. He is married and has four children.
The Movement for Democracy and Justice in T'Chad (MDJT) claimed responsibility for Godbold's captivity. Mr. Choua Dazi, the President of the MDJT, made numerous statements to the international media and others during the months of captivity, reporting that Godbold would be released as early as last November. No explanation for the failure of the MDJT to honor those promises has been provided. Godbold was ultimately released following extensive negotiations between his captors and TEAM.
TEAM emphasizes that Godbold's release was unconditional and that no ransom was paid, and no concessions of any type were made to secure his release.
Dr. Charles Davis, International Director of TEAM, expressed gratitude and appreciation
for the efforts of many organizations and individuals in Chad and the United States:
"Governments, the church, other faith-based organizations and individuals worked
together to make sure that Steve was kept safe and ultimately released. We are so
very grateful for this assistance and praise God for every person and agency that
helped bring Steve home."
Additional information will be provided as it becomes available during the repatriation and debriefing processes.