Kidnapping in Nigeria continues: two Germans abducted on Sunday

Posted Apr 19, 2010 by Sharon Davis
Two Germans and a Nigerian couple were kidnapped in separate incidents on Sunday. This is the second kidnapping of foreign workers in Nigeria in 10 days.
street hawker in Abuja
street hawker in Abuja
The two German men were abducted from oil-producing Abia State. They are reported to have been at Azumini Beach near the Imo River, and were heading back to their car when they were taken by gun men.
Reuters reports that police could not immediately be reached for comment. The German Foreign Ministry said it was aware of the reports of the kidnapping and was looking into the incident.
A Nigerian couple was also abducted on Sunday from Eleme near Port Harcourt in neighbouring Rivers State. The kidnappers freed the wife and then demanded she pay NGN 50 mn (about USD 333,000) for the release of her husband.
Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, with hundreds of incidents reported each year. The kidnappings were initially started by militant rebel groups, like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. They rebels objected to the fact that foreign companies were benefiting from Nigeria's oil, largely to the exclusion of Nigerians, and would target expatriate working for oil companies as a form of protest.
However, general lawlessness has seen the kidnappings increase, and well-off Nigerians are now also a common target. Most victims are released unharmed, with or without the ransom money being paid.
Foreign firms, ranging from oil to construction to telecoms, are forced to spend millions of dollars a year on security for their staff because of the high crime in the Niger Delta says Reuters.
Four construction workers from Syria and Lebanon were kidnapped on April 9, also from Abia State. They were released five days later. Reports are not clear on whether a ransom was paid.