Kidnapped Nigerian journalists freed

Four journalists, who were kidnapped in Nigeria`s oil-rich Niger Delta a week ago, were released by their abductors today without a ransom being paid.

Last Updated: Jul 18, 2010, 18:22 PM IST

Abuja: Four journalists, who were
kidnapped in Nigeria`s oil-rich Niger Delta a week ago, were
released by their abductors today without a ransom being paid.

"They were released early in the morning" Deji Elumoye
Vice chairman of the Lagos chapter of Nigeria Union Of
Journalists (NUJ), said.

The four were kidnapped when abductors ambushed a
convoy of cars carrying the journalists in the southern state
of Akwa Ibom on Monday.

Deji told PTI that the released journalists called
their families on phone from a forest where they were
abducted.

The abductors had demanded for a ransom of USD 1.67
million and later reduced it to USD 200,000.

Elumoye said no ransom was paid.
The incident caused public outcry with the African
country`s inspector-general of police forced to relocate to
the region while federal legislators threaten to make the
government declare state of emergency due to frequent
kidnappings.

The country`s minister of information, Professor
Dora Akunyili had condemned the abductions saying: "Government
finds this ugly development quite disturbing, sad and clearly
unacceptable."

Abduction is very common in the country`s Niger
Delta region but this is the first time journalists became
victims.

Barely a fortnight ago, 12 foreign oil workers were
abducted by gunmen and released after intensive efforts by the
country`s Navy.

While many of the kidnappings of oil workers have been
claimed by militants who are fighting for resource control in
the region for a decade, other abductions have been carried
out to collect cash through ransom payments.

For many years, militants engaged in oil war in the
region claiming to seek for resource control.

An amnesty programme by the West African country’s
government in which the militants exchanged their arms for
some monetary compensation was delayed due to the ill health
of former President Umaru Musa Yar Adua who died in May.

His successor President Goodluck Jonathan promised
to carry on with the amnesty and recently brought in some
foreigners to train the militants to become useful members of
the society.

PTI