TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Nigeria: Abducted Dutch Nationals Released By Gunmen

Listen to article

SAN FRANCISCO, May 11, (THEWILL) â€' The three Dutch nationals abducted last Sunday by gun wielding militants in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region have been released, THEWILL can report.

The three foreigners (two male and a female) are Erhard Leffers and Marianne Vos, who are employees of a printing and publishing company in Dedemsvaart, Netherlands and a documentary film maker, Jandries Groenendijk.

The trio alongside two Nigerians - Comrade Sunny Ofehe, Chief Executive Director of Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), and Femi Soewu, a Creative Director of Africaweb Television, were seized in Letugbene waterfront in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa state during a trip to the Niger Delta.

They had gone to inspect a hospital built in Amatu II through a Chevron GMoU initiative, and to see how they could help the locals sustain the hospital through medical support and international partnership.

The gunmen had on Monday released the two Nigerians.

It was not clear if any ransom was paid as the gunmen had first demanded N350 million ($2.4m) for their release.

Sources told THEWILL that the ransom was subsequently reduced to N98million, then to N15million and further to N10 million for each of the victims.

A reliable source said that neither the police nor the Bayelsa state government were involved in the negotiations to free the hostages until Saturday night when they were brought before the state deputy governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd) at Government House, Onopa, Yenagoa, by the state police commissioner, Hilary Opara.

Rear Admiral Jonah same night transferred the foreigners to the Dutch Ambassador to Nigerian who was at Government House.

The deputy governor assured the Ambassador that the kidnappers would be fished out.

'I just want to inform everyone that they are free, and that they are safe and in good health,' Ofehe, an Amsterdam-based environmental activist, told THEWILL.