Ian Squire, one of four British medical missionaries held captive in Nigeria beginning in mid-October, was martyred immediately after he sang “Amazing Grace,” said Dr. David Donovan, a fellow hostage.

Squire stood after finishing the hymn, and a volley of gunshots killed him instantly. His fellow hostages fled from the hut where they were held, fearing they would be next.

“We jumped out of the shack and into the water, as we thought they were coming for us next, but a member of the gang came and put us back in there with Ian for the rest of the day,” he said.

Donovan and his wife, Shirley, with colleague Anna Carson, have been telling their story to U.K. media.

The surviving hostages were freed in early November.

Squire, an ophthalmologist from London, moved to Nigeria to establish an eye clinic. He had developed a solar-powered lens grinder for the mission.

Donovan speculated that a member of the gang may have murdered Squire after fearing that his singing might alert others to the hostages’ presence.

“It was the perfect song, and at that point things began to look not quite as bad,” Donovan said. “Ian was hungry to know more of God, and lived his life with that purpose.”

John Martin