Israeli Man Kidnapped in Nigeria Released After Five Days in Captivity

Foreign Ministry kept kidnapping under wraps amid fears for victim's life; kidnappers had no connection to terror groups.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Nigerian soldiers stand guard overlooking downtown Lagos.
Nigerian soldiers stand guard overlooking downtown Lagos.Credit: AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

An Israeli man in his seventies, employed by a foreign infrastructure firm working in Nigeria, was kidnapped roughly a month ago and subsequently released by local crmininals who demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom. A source within the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that the individual was held for five days in a jungle before his company paid the kidnappers.

Kidnapping both foreigners and locals for ransom money is fairly common in Nigeria. The kidnapping of the man in question was not linkd to his Israel nationality, nor were the kidnappers linked to any terrorist organization. The Foreign Ministry, however, decided to keep a low profile about the kidnapping, fearing that the man's life could be in danger. Uriel Palti, Israel's ambassador to Nigeria, remained in contact with the company as well as local security forces throughout the ordeal.

The individual was on his way to the airport in Lagos, to catch a flight to Abuja, the capital. En route, his vehicle was stopped by criminals who kidnapped both him and his driver. For five days, the man was held by the gang of kidnappers in a jungle, though he was not harmed. After a few days of negotiating with the kidnappers, the company paid a ransom lower than the sum originally demanded, and the Israeli man was released.

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