Two Chinese hostages regain freedom, unharmed in Nigeria

The pressure was so much on the kidnappers that they had to abandon them and flee
A Nigerian police SWAT personnel member sits alert with a machine gun on a vehicle stationed at the entrance of Rivers State collation centre in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria, on February 26, 2019. – Incumbent Muhammadu Buhari kept a lead over his main rival in the race to become Nigeria’s next president, with nearly half of all states declared. The death toll from violence linked to the vote meanwhile increased from 39 to 47, according to the Situation Room umbrella group of civil society election monitors. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Two Chinese construction workers kidnapped in Nigeria have been freed unharmed, two days after being taken hostage, police said Monday.

Masked gunmen seized the men on Thursday in the Ohaozara area of Ebonyi state in Nigeria’s troubled southeast region.

But after being chased by police, the kidnappers left the men behind, Ebonyi state police spokesperson, Loveth Odah said.

“They were rescued on Saturday morning,” Odah said. “The pressure was so much on the kidnappers that they had to abandon them and flee. They were rescued in a thick forest unhurt.”

Several Chinese companies are working in Nigeria on multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects, including building railways, airports and roads. Their workers have been repeatedly targeted by kidnap gangs.

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially in the oil-rich south. 

The victims are usually released after ransom is paid although police rarely confirm if money changed hands.

The violence is the latest in a long line of attacks.

Last week, in three separate attacks, gunmen in Rivers state kidnapped a British, Canadian and a Nigerian worker from an oil rig, abducted two Shell staff in a road ambush leaving two policemen dead, and grabbed four Nigerian government emergency workers.

Those hostages are believed to still be on captivity.

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