Nigeria: No word on Germans

2010-04-19 20:23

Lagos - Nigeria is working hard to free two Germans abducted in the south-eastern state of Abia, an official said on Monday, adding that the two men had taken unnecessary risks by travelling to the restive area.

"We are working very hard to secure the release of the Germans," the top state security official told AFP.

He said the two Germans, aged 45 and 55, kidnapped on Sunday near Imo river, had "exposed themselves to unnecessary risks" by travelling there unaccompanied.

The German government said diplomats were working to secure their release.

"We must assume at this point that two German citizens were kidnapped on Sunday night in southern Nigeria, in the Niger Delta," foreign ministry spokesperson Andreas Peschke told reporters in Berlin.


"The foreign ministry and our experts on the ground are in contact with the responsible authorities in Nigeria. We are trying everything possible, with these authorities, to resolve this case as soon as possible."

He declined to provide further details in the interest of the hostages' safety.

A Nigerian security source said one of the men works in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, while the other came from Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Abia State police spokesperson Ali Okechukwu told AFP that they have not yet established any contact with the Germans or their abductors.


"Nothing has so far been heard from either the Germans or the kidnappers," he said.

He said that information available to the police indicated that the two foreigners came to the river to swim in the company of three young Nigerian women and a driver, but without police escorts.

"The kidnappers whisked away the Germans after the swimming while the girls ran into the bush with the driver. The kidnappers and the Germans headed for nearby Akwa Ibom State," said Okechukwu.

"We have deployed our men to comb the bushes and we have also contacted our colleagues in Akwa Ibom to assist in the search for these foreigners," he added.

Hundreds of foreigners and locals, mostly oil workers - have been kidnapped since 2006 in Nigeria, mostly in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Many have been released unharmed, but some only after ransom payments.