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Kidnapped Sierra Leonean diplomat freed in Nigeria

Alfred Nelson-Williams released unharmed five days after his abduction in Nigeria, government officials say.


Kidnappings in Nigeria
  • Sierra Leone's deputy high commissioner in Nigeria freed
  • No ransom paid to kidnappers, Sierra Leone official says
  • Kidnapping for ransom a common problem in Nigeria

A Sierra Leonean diplomat who was kidnapped in Nigeria has been freed unharmed five days after his abduction, according to officials from both countries.

Alfred Nelson-Williams, defence attache and deputy head of the Sierra Leonean mission in Nigeria, was abducted on Friday while travelling from Abuja to the northern city of Kaduna.

"The diplomat has been reunited with the Sierra Leonean High Commissioner (ambassador) and his family," Don Awunah, Nigeria's federal police spokesman, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

"He is in sound health," Awunah added.

The diplomat was freed "as a result of quiet diplomacy", Sierra Leone's Deputy Information Minister Cornelius Deveaux said, declining to provide further details.

Sierra Leonean government spokesman Ajibu Jalloh said that Nelson-Williams was released with his Nigerian driver, adding "we still have not got all the facts".

No ransom money was paid to the abductors, he said, speaking on national radio.

Further details about the circumstances of the release were not immediately known, though unconfirmed reports in Nigeria claimed that $40m was demanded for the diplomat's freeing.

Abductions in Nigeria

Kidnapping for ransom has long been a problem in parts of Nigeria.

In late June, three Australians, a New Zealander and a South African were kidnapped along with two Nigerians near the capital of Cross River state in the country's south.

They were released four days later. Officials did not reveal whether the kidnappers received a ransom.

In April 2014, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their classroom in the remote northeastern town of Chibok by Boko Haram fighters.

The government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was criticised for its slow response to acknowledge the kidnapping and for its inability to find and recover the girls.


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