SA journalist ‘kidnapped in Nigeria’

2010-03-02 10:36

Attackers kidnapped a South African sports journalist and two

Nigerian colleagues on a bus in southeast Nigeria yesterday, his employer

said.

The television crew from M-Net Supersport were travelling near the

airport in Owerri, capital of southeastern Imo state, when they came under

attack, the channel’s general manager in Nigeria, Felix Awogu, said.

“The bus conveying the three, a production person, a cameraman and

a sports commentator, was intercepted Monday afternoon by the gunmen,” he

said.

“The attackers ordered out more than 20 people inside the bus and

took away the three and the bus,” Awogu said.

“We are keeping all our telephone lines open. We are hopeful that

they (kidnappers) will make contact with us to enable us to facilitate the

freedom of the abducted men,” he said.

The crew were returning from covering a football match in the

southern city of Enugu.

The police command in Imo state was unreachable by telephone, while

the Nigerian national police had not been informed of the kidnap.

A South African foreign ministry spokesperson said diplomats were

in contact with Nigerian officials in hope of establishing contact with the

kidnappers.

Kidnappings are relatively common in Nigeria’s oil-rich south, but

have in recent months spread to the rest of the country.

Ransom demands range from $700,000 to $3 million depending on the

wealth and status of the hostage, although kidnappers will often accept lower

sums.

More than 500 people were kidnapped in the first six months of last

year, of whom 10 were killed, according to official Nigerian statistics. Most of

those kidnapped were foreign oil workers.

 


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