Monday 17 January 2022

Dutch nationals were target of kidnappers, freed Nigeria activist says

Nigerian activist Sunny Ofehe, released after being kidnapped with three Dutch people on Sunday in Nigeria, told Nos the Dutch nationals appeared to be the target.

The kidnappers shouted ‘where are the white people?’ when they boarded the boat, Ofehe told the broadcaster in an interview.

The kidnap happened when the group were returning from a visit to a clinic in the Niger Delta. A speed boat began chasing the boat they were travelling in and shots were fired. The motor of the boat was damaged and the men boarded, making threats.

Ofehe says he and another Nigerian national were placed by the gang in a different boat after attempting to intervene when the three Dutch people were taken. He did not see them again and was released yesterday.

Ransom

The Dutch nationals are still being held and a €10m ransom demand has been made for their release, Nigerian police told RTL news on Tuesday morning. Ofehe, who lives in the Netherlands, said the ransom demand was for 10 million naira which equates to €45,000.

Two of the other three are said to be Erhard Leffers and Marianne Vos, who work for a printing company in Dedemsvaart and with Ofehe produce a magazine about the Niger Delta. The third is documentary maker Jan Dries Groenendijk.

It is not clear who took the four, but Nigerian police say it was not the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram. Spokesman Alex Akhigbe told RTL news the Dutch people will still be alive. ‘The kidnappers are only after money,’ he said.

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