Four days after they were abducted at gunpoint, the 7 expatriate contractors, including three Australians and a South African, have been released unharmed by gunmen in Calabar, Cross River State, Reuters reports.
The Cross River State Security Adviser SSA, Mr. Jude Ngaji, who confirmed the report told CrossRiverWatch that the expatriates were released early Sunday morning.
Ngaji discredited allegations that ransom was paid for their release. He also stated that all the foreigners were released unhurt without any injury while the two Nigerians had minor injuries possibly from torture by the kidnappers.
“I can confirm to you that all the kidnapped persons have been released this morning. All the white guys were released unhurt without any issues, but the two black guys, the Nigerians sustained some minor injuries possibly from torture.”
When questioned whether ransom was paid, Ngaji said;
“Government does not pay ransom. I don’t know anything about any ransom. If any was paid, I am not aware and it was not paid by this government or any of the security agencies. I only know that the various security agencies collaborated and did their work very well and commendably to secure the release of the hostages.”
Mr. Ngaji who could not say whether any of the kidnappers were arrested however promised that none of them will go unpunished. He said that in the course of the work to release the victims, the security agents gathered a lot of information about the kidnappers and their activities. He assured the public that none of the kidnappers will go unpunished.
Cross River State Commissioner Jimoh Ozi-Obeh said they were released “unhurt” but gave no further details.
However, a top security source told CrossRiverWatch that an unrevealed amount of money was paid to the kidnappers inorder to secure the release of the victims. The security agencies are on the trail of the kidnappers to make sure they are arrested eventually and made to face the law.
There are also reports that most of the foreigners who work for the Lafarge Cement factory in Mfamosing, Akamkpa LGA have abandoned their duty posts because of the recent development.