U.S. and Canadian Nationals Freed after Kidnapping in Nigeria
ABUJA, Nigeria –
UPDATE: The two American and two Canadian citizens who were recently kidnapped in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna Tuesday night have been released unharmed. The group of four were released without the payment of a ransom that was demanded by the captors on Thursday according to spokesman, Mukhtar Aliyu.
Aliyu stated, “It was the efforts of the police, through the directive of the inspector general of police, that yielded their release last night”.
This shows the level that kidnapping has become normalized in Nigerian society. The economy, among a myriad of other societal ills in Nigeria are leading youth to such crimes. This was a rather difficult situation to resolve because of Canada’s controversial policy of not paying ransoms in international terrorism incidents.
Original – Reports coming out of Nigeria that two American citizens and two Canadian citizens have been kidnapped by armed men in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, infamously known for kidnappings.
The group of four were on their way back to the capital Abuja from the town of Kafanchan, Kaduna State on Tuesday night. They were riding in two separate cars when they were suddenly ambushed by the armed men. During the kidnapping, the assailants also killed two police escorts riding with the foreigners during a shootout.
Kaduna state police spokesman Mukhtar Aliyu told the Associated Press that, “The two police escorts attached to them engaged the kidnappers in a fierce gun battle, which resulted in the unfortunate death of the two police officers.”
The foreigners were a group of investors working on solar stations in the villages close to Kafanchan.
The Senator of Kaduna Central District, Shehu Sani, tweeted condemnation of the act and called for an increase in search efforts of the two missing foreigners and their captors.
Global Affairs Canada has said that they are aware of the ongoing investigation and are working with Nigerian officials to safely resolve the issue and free the hostages. John Babcock, spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, says they cannot reveal anymore information at this time due to security and privacy concerns.
The United States Embassy in Nigeria has yet to release a statement.
On the U.S. Department of State website, there has been a travel advisory posted for the country of Nigeria since January 10th, 2018. The advisory has put Nigeria on a Level 3 Advisory, meaning all U.S. citizens should reconsider travel to Nigeria due to crime, terrorism, and piracy. Kaduna is one of the nine northern Nigerian states frequently devastated by the radical Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. Boko Haram, the infamous group which orchestrated the kidnapping of over 270 school girls from Northern Nigeria, has ties with Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Global Affairs Canada has recently updated their risk level of Nigeria to “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” to Nigeria and “Avoid all regional travel” within Nigeria, according to their state website. Urging their citizens to avoid travel due to the “significant risk of terrorism, crime, inter-communal clashes, armed attacks and kidnappings.”
Kidnappings of fellow Nigerians have always been rampant but there has been a significant spike in kidnappings targeting foreigners. The kidnappers usually demand ransoms and eventually let the abductees go unharmed.
The Abuja-Kaduna Expressway has been a prime location for kidnappers with two German archaeologists being abducted there last February but later freed unharmed.
In October 2017, four British missionaries were also kidnapped in the southern Nigeria state of Delta. Three were released after three weeks with one hostage, Ian Squire, being killed by the captors.