11 May 2014

Nigeria: Gunmen Release Dutch Hostages

Photo: Vanguard
Kidnapping syndicate.

Kidnapper's in Nigeria's Niger Delta have released three Dutch nationals. The area where the group was taken from is a known hot-spot for kidnappers seeking ransom money.

"Yes they have been rescued and handed over to their country's ambassador," Anka Mustapha, a spokesperson for Bayelsa state's Joint Task Force told the Reuters news agency.

The Dutch foreign ministry confirmed the trio's release, but had "no information" on whether a ransom was paid to secure the group's freedom. A ministry spokesperson added that the Dutch nationals were still in Nigeria and the country's ambassador would be meeting with them in the Niger Delta region.

Two men, and one woman were kidnapped on May 4 after gunmen in a dinghy stormed their boat. The group, which included a Netherlands-based Nigerian, were then blindfolded and taken to an unknown location.

The southern Niger Delta region is home to Africa's largest oil industry, and is a hot-spot for kidnappers seeking ransom money for expatriate abductions.

Gerrits & Leffers, a Dutch-based printing company, confirmed two of its employees were in the group of hostages. The pair, the company said, were in Nigeria to help peace activists in the delta region publish a magazine.

The third hostage was a documentary film maker, Dutch broadcaster NOS TV reported.

Last month, Islamist rebel group Boko-Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from a school in the northeast of the country. The kidnapping caused global outrage and lead to the #bringbackourgirls social media campaign.

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