November 8, 2010 4.32 pm This story is over 158 months old

Lincolnite faces his kidnapper on film

Face to face: A Lincoln man went to face his captor after he was held hostage in Colombia for three months.

Seven years ago, Mark Henderson, a television producer and director from Lincoln, was on a trip to Columbia, when his voyage took an unexpected turn.

On the night of September 11 2003, Henderson, along with seven other tourists from around the world, were taken hostage by a rebel group.

Their capture made international headlines, as Henderson and the seven others were held captive for 101 days.

The kidnappers, Colombia’s National Liberation Army, were known as the ELN, a revolutionary Marxist guerrilla group which has operated since the 1960s.

The rebels said they kidnapped the men to publicise the persecution of Indian villagers and massacres carried out by paramilitaries, and not for a ransom.

After weeks of negotiations, clergy from the Roman Catholic Church in Colombia managed to secure the tourists’ release.

Henderson and the rest of the captives were at their homes in time for Christmas.

An unexpected email

Eleven months after his release, Henderson received an email from one of his captors, asking to stay in touch to “develop a friendship”.

He exchanged emails for several months with Antonio, the captor, which never offered any apologies over what happened in Colombia.

And after receiving funds from Channel 4’s Britdoc Foundation, Henderson set out to make a documentary of his returns to Colombia to meet his captor.

Opening old wounds

The four tourists were held hostage for 101 days.

Together with three of his fellow hostages, Henderson returned to the place where he was captured, looking for closure.

“I think most of my family thought I was mad,” he said, as it took him five years to find the time and funding to complete the film.

Titled My Kidnapper, the film is made up of footage shot on a shaky handheld camera, with snippets of news bulletins from when he was captured.

The emotional film documents Henderson’s journey back to Colombia, and was screen at the Sheffield Documentary Festival last week.

My Kidnapper will also be broadcast on More4 early next year.

Video excerpts from My Kidnapper

Trailer for Mark Henderson’s film, My Kidnapper.

The four hostages experience an emotional return to the huts of the Lost City in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the place where they were kidnapped at 4.30am.

Henderson reflects on how they thought the area was safe for tourists, and were innocent to the plan that had been hatched by the kidnappers.

The hostages meet with the families that have been displaced from the mountains where they were held.

As Henderson and Reini drive towards their meeting with Antonio and Camila, they question how they should act towards the kidnappers they haven’t seen for six years.

Mark and Reini question Antonio about him being a terrorist.

Related Reports: The Telegraph, BBC News, The Independent | Photos: My Kidnapper