Police officer: Not clear if ransom was paid for Germans

2017-02-27 20:20
Flag and map of Nigeria. (iStock)

Flag and map of Nigeria. (iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Abuja - Nigerian police say it is not clear if a ransom was paid for the release of two German archaeologists freed by their kidnappers over the weekend.

Professor Peter Breunig and Johannes Behringer of Frankfurt's Goethe University were seized at gunpoint last Wednesday from Jenjela village in Kaduna state, less than 100km northeast of Abuja, Nigeria's capital.

Two villagers who tried to help them were killed by the kidnappers.

The kidnappers released the Germans unharmed on Saturday night, said a police statement.

The two freed academics were at the German Embassy in Abuja on Monday and are expected to return home, said Germany's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Martin Schaefer.

"It was good that such a positive solution came about so quickly," he told the AP.

Germany's government does not comment on hostage negotiations or ransom payments.

The kidnappers made direct contact with the German Embassy, a senior police officer involved in the search told The Associated Press on Monday.

A worker at Jenjela said the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $200 000. Both men spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to reporters.

It was unclear if the kidnappers were paid or if they were frightened off by a massive hunt launched by police Special Forces, an elite anti-kidnapping unit and security agents aided by a low-flying helicopter.

The officer said security operatives had created a cordon to block off a thick forest where kidnappers often take hostages. He said the search for the kidnappers continued on Tuesday.

On Monday, Kaduna state Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai had "commended the security agencies for their efforts in securing the release of the Germans." But he gave no details.

Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, with ordinary residents and even schoolchildren targeted as well as foreigners. Victims usually are freed unharmed after a ransom is paid, though security forces have rescued a few high-profile abductees.

Sierra Leone's deputy high commissioner was kidnapped at gunpoint on the highway from Abuja to Kaduna in June and held for five days before he was released.

Sierra Leone denied any ransom was paid.

Breunig, 65 and Behringer, in his 20s, are part of a four-man team from Goethe University investigating the culture of the Nok people in collaboration with Nigeria's National Commission for Museum and Monuments.

Breunig has been working for a decade on sites of the early Iron Age people, considered the earliest ancient civilization of West Africa, and their terracotta figurines viewed as the beginnings of African sculpture.


Read more on:    german  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Does your dog have separation anxiety?

We've got tips, advice and how to help your dog

 
 

Paws

Fascinating facts about dogs
Perfectly captured cat snapchats!
Out with the old dog, in with the new
Play with your pet when you're not at home
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.