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Breaking News: 4 M-Net SuperSport Journalists Kidnapped in...

By International Press Institute (IPI)

4 Mar 2010 12:52 Africa/Lagos
Journalists Kidnapped in Niger Delta / IPI Urges Immediate Release Although One Journalist Managed to Escape, Fears Remain over Two Journalists who Remain in Captivity

ABUJA, March 4, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Three journalists from the African sports network M-Net SuperSport were kidnapped in the Niger Delta Region on Monday, but one has since escaped from his captors and fled to safety, according to news reports. A fourth journalist was reportedly shot during the kidnapping and taken to hospital, reports said.

Cameraman Alexander Effiong “took a big risk,” M-Net SuperSport general manager Felix Awogu told Agence France-Presse. “He ran away from them and he is now back to us in Lagos.” No further information on his escape has been released.

Awogu also said that his network was in contact with the kidnappers, and that he was optimistic about the return of the other two abductees.

South African journalist Nick Greyling, and his three Nigerian colleagues, cameraman Alexander Effiong, commentator Bowie Attamah and an unidentified cameraman, were travelling to Owerri airport when they were stopped by armed attackers, News24 reported.

IPI Director Dadge said: “We urge the abductors to release the journalists immediately. Kidnappings, for ransom, or any other reason are unacceptable. Journalists are no exception.”

In July 2009, Reuters reported that 500 people had already been kidnapped in Nigeria, up nearly 70 percent from the whole of 2008. Hundreds of foreign workers have been kidnapped over the past three years in Nigeria.

IPI board member Hajiya Bilkisu Bintube, who is the editor of Citizen Communications, in Kaduna, Nigeria, told IPI: “There is a lot of activity by criminals, who are also sometimes supported by the government. They kidnap and then they share the ransom. It is often not related to the struggle of environmental groups anymore.”

The last recorded attack on a sports journalist in Nigeria was on 22 August 1998, according to the Canada-based International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), Ganiyu Salman, a reporter with the Sporting Tribune was assaulted by a staff member of the Shooting Stars sports club (3SC) football club during a pro-league match. The attack was sparked over a story titled “Baraje Unveils N4m (US$470,400) Juju deal at 3SC.”

Source: International Press Institute (IPI)