I arrived in Ouagadougou on 10 May, 2006. I was met at the airport by someone whom I thought I could trust. I was taken to the Hotel Iris. Over the next six days the management of the hotel was complicit in preventing me from leaving the hotel. My room telephone was rendered inoperable.
The cell phone, given to me by one of my captors, recieved incoming calls only. No one at the hotel would explain how to unlock the phone, to enable out-going calls. When asked for the number of the American Embassy, I was first told there was none. When I showed evidence the embassy did exist, employees gave me fake numbers. Finally, being unable to go out over the weekend, I spent time looking through the Ouagadougou telephone book for the number of the U.S. Embassy. Everything was written in French.
One of the guests at the hotel, who sensed my distress, explained how to simply unlock my loaner cell phone. My cameras were stolen. I demanded the police be called. The hotel personnel refused. The man who seemed to be the manager, told me to call my "friend." He was referring to one of the captors. Within minutes the woman, called Rose, walked into the hotel with my cameras. All my pictures had been deleted.
I was told I had to eat at the hotel restaurant. I brought some food fom home, which was good. On Friday 12 may, 2006 I nearly died from an unknown poison. I had something in my suitcase to make me vomit. I became very ill. Boils appeared over my entire body. No one would assist me. Either I was poisoned by the hotel or my captors. I had eaten no where else. On Saturday the hotel allowed some of my captors to attempt to knock in my door. It was surprising for them to find me still alive. I could tell by their obvious lack of anything to say.
After reaching, by phone, the U.S.Embassy on Monday, someone from Interpol was sent to watch the hotel. On Tuesday the embassy stealthily moved me to a hotel of their choosing. This hotel was very lovely and cost me not much more than what I had been charged at the Hotel Iris.
The Hotel Iris refused to give me a receipt for payment. I had pre-paid for my room. I left before my entire stay was complete.
I have made a complete report to the Ouagadougou police. Air France extended my stay so that I might assist in the investigation. The reason for my captivity is unknown. Eight-thousand dollars in travelers checks were stolen, and I was forced, by threat of death, to countersign at the bank. The bank was in on the scheme, also. I was shown a box with a lock...a box in which I could actually fit. The next day, they attempted to steal mny passport. It was demanded I sign some bank papers. I refused. I was shown a trunk filled with stacks of hundred dollar bills. The bank finally had to admit their part.
I am writing a report on the bank also, because I do not want anyone to use this bank, anywhere in the world. They do business with terrorists...this is what I believe they were, becuase they were acting against the interest of the United states. It is my opinion the money in the trunk, at least in part, was counterfeit.
The Hotel Iris played an important part in the plot. If the hotel had not cooperated, it was a slam-dunk I would have been able to contact immediately, the United States Embassy the very first morning. I do wish to say, I learned these captors were Nigerian. In no way does this reflect upon the character of the majority of the burkinabe.