Posted: Nov 25, 2012 4:20 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com
Updated: Nov 25, 2012 7:46 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - On November 4th, we reported on a native Rockport man who was captured in South Sudan. 52-year-old Elton Mark McCabe had been in custody of South Sudanese security forces for weeks with his friend, Mohammed Golah. Recently, however, family says they have both been released.
In August of this year, McCabe and Golah started a construction and consultation firm in South Sudan to make some money rebuilding the war-torn country.
On October 14th, however, the two were arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping of an Indian business man for a $5 million ransom.
"We went to some friends of ours to pay for some diesel and all of a sudden we were surrounded," McCabe said. "We were arrested, and the nightmare became a reality for 40 days we was incarcerated,"
The men denied the charges but say security forces detained them anyway and did not provide medical or consulate assistance.
During the detainment, McCabe's family waited for word on his condition. Cheryl Casterline, McCabe's cousin who lives in Rockport had said, "He could be dead already and we don't know. And we won't know until we see him get off that plane."
Family believed the National Security Service was holding McCabe and Golah under the assumption that they were wealthy Americans, which they say they are not. McCabe's trial, according to family, was set to begin on Thanksgiving.
"The only thing that I'm going to be giving thanks for is, well, I'll be praying for his release," Casterline had said a week before Thanksgiving.
South Sudan became a new country 15 months ago and has been widely criticized for weaknesses in their justice system. Although the two men are now free, McCabe says he would never discourage anyone from traveling abroad.
"Any third-world country or a country that is a new country, you have to be very cautious." McCabe said. "I experienced something that was very bad but I believe I'll overcome this and I'm not going to tell people not to come because if you don't, then you don't know."
McCabe's family says he is out on bail but has to go before a judge tomorrow to plea his case.
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