Kidnapped Sierra Leonean diplomat freed in Nigeria
06 July 2016, 14:23
A Sierra Leonean diplomat who was kidnapped in Nigeria has been freed unharmed five days after his abduction, according to officials from both countries.
Alfred Nelson-Williams, defence attache and deputy head of the Sierra Leonean mission in Nigeria, was abducted on Friday while travelling from Abuja to the northern city of Kaduna.
"The diplomat has been reunited with the Sierra Leonean High Commissioner (ambassador) and his family," Don Awunah, Nigeria's federal police spokesperson, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.
"He is in sound health," Awunah added.
The diplomat was freed "as a result of quiet diplomacy", Sierra Leone's Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux said, declining to provide further details.
Sierra Leonean government spokesperson Ajibu Jalloh said that Nelson-Williams was released together with his Nigerian driver, adding "we still have not got all the facts".
No ransom money was paid to the abductors, he said, speaking on national radio.
Further details about the circumstances of the release were not immediately known, though unconfirmed reports in Nigeria claimed that $40m was demanded for the diplomat's freeing.
Abductions in Nigeria
Kidnapping for ransom has long been a problem in parts of Nigeria.
Last week, two Indian workers were kidnapped on their way to work in central Benue state.
In late June, three Australians, a New Zealander and a South African were kidnapped along with two Nigerians near the capital of Cross River state in the country's south.
They were released four days later. Officials did not reveal whether the kidnappers received a ransom.
In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their classroom in the remote northeastern town of Chibok by Boko Haram fighters.
The government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was criticised for its slow response to acknowledge the kidnapping and for its inability to find and recover the girls.