Niger Delta gunmen have released three Dutch nationals who were abducted a week earlier, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
“I can confirm they have been freed,” ministry spokesman Johanne Doornewaard said, adding that the trio were in good health.
Doornewaard said he had “no information” on whether any ransom was paid for their release.
The news of the three’s release was announced earlier in the day by a Nigerian activist who had accompanied the trio.
Amsterdam-based environmental activist Sunny Ofehe was with the two Dutch men and one woman when they were seized on May 4 after armed men in a dinghy stormed their boat.
The group, which included another Netherlands-based Nigerian, were blindfolded and taken to an unknown location where the two Nigerians were released.
“I just want to inform everyone that they are free and that they are safe and in good health,” Ofehe told Dutch broadcaster NOS TV.
Doornewaard said that the released hostages were still in Nigeria and that the Netherlands’ ambassador to the country had been sent to the Delta region to meet them.
Scores of foreigners have been abducted in the southern Nigerian region that is home to Africa’s largest oil industry, with many released upon payment of a ransom.
Employees of foreign oil companies are required to have an armed escort when traveling through the Delta, but international journalists, aid workers and others typically avoid taking a security detail.
Dutch printing company Gerrits & Leffers had confirmed that two of its employees were among those abducted and that the pair were in Nigeria to help Niger Delta peace activists publish a magazine.
The third Dutch national was a documentary filmmaker, NOS TV reported, and the group was en route to visit a hospital financed by oil company Chevron when the kidnapping took place.