20 January 2018

Nigeria: Four U.S., Canadian Captives Freed in Nigeria

Two American and two Canadian citizens have been released after being kidnapped earlier this week in an ambush in Nigeria's northern state of Kaduna. Police say they have a suspect in custody.

Nigerian police freed the four foreigners in an operation in Kagarko, Kaduna state, following a massive manhunt, a police spokesman said Saturday.

"They have been rescued thanks to the efforts of the police," spokesman Muktar Aliyu said. "All of them are in good condition of health."

He added that due to trauma, the victims had been taken to the capital, Abuja, to undergo medical observation.

The four were driving from Kafanchan, Kaduna, to Abuja on January 17 when they were ambushed by gunmen who shot dead two of their police escorts.

According to police, at least one person has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping and more suspects are being sought. Aliyu said the foreigners were in the country to invest in solar stations in villages around Kafanchan.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, but Aliyu said no ransom was paid for their freedom. Two German archaeologists were seized at gunpoint last year and were later freed unharmed. In July 2016, Sierra Leone's defense attache to Nigeria was kidnapped by armed men in military fatigues at a fake checkpoint on the Kaduna-Abuja road.

A US State Department travel advisory urges American citizens to "reconsider" traveling to Nigeria, warning that violent crimes such as armed robbery, assault, carjacking, kidnapping, and rape happen frequently.

In a separate incident, police in the Delta state said five Nigerian oil workers from local firm Sahara Energy were kidnapped on Thursday. Delta state police said no arrests had been made.

fm/nm (Reuters, AP, dpa )

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