Kidnapped German freed

Kidnapped German freed

Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:17 pm

Julius Berger staff at work

Julius Berger staff at work

Gunmen have freed a German kidnapped last week Friday, in Sagamu, southwest Nigeria.

His employer, the construction giant Julius Berger said today.

“I can confirm that he has been released,” a spokeswoman at the firm’s Nigeria subsidiary said, declining to give further details.

A co-worker was shot dead in the October 24 attack in Ogun state.

The duo were attacked by four armed men, as they were passing by a bush near Sagamu.

According to police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi: “A bullet hit one German and he was confirmed dead on arrival at the hospital, while the hoodlums abducted another German.”

A Julius Berger spokeswoman in Nigeria said the two were travelling in two separate vehicles, without their security escort.

In a later press statement, Julius Berger formally confirmed the release of the German.

“Julius Berger Nigeria Plc is pleased to officially announce the release of the company’s member of staff, who was abducted in Ogun State on 24 October 2014,” a statement from the firm said.

“The company would like to thank the all those who assisted in achieving a swift and safe release, especially government authorities and security services.”

Ogun state police spokesman Abimbola Oyeyemi said the hostage was “rescued” on Thursday, but the security services have previously claimed successful rescue operations even when ransoms were paid.

The company provided no details on the release.

The employee who died, a sub-contractor, died in hospital from a bullet wound while two other staff members were hurt.

Julius Berger confirmed that the group was moving in separate vehicles without security escort to a quarry in Ogun state.

Foreign companies, especially oil majors and large construction firms, typically require expatriate staff to travel with police escort because of the high threat of kidnapping in Nigeria.

Abductions targeting foreigners are common throughout the southern part of the country.

Hostages are often released following a payment, especially in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, which has seen waves of similar attacks.

The security services and the companies involved rarely discuss details of ransom payments and there was no mention in Thursday’s statement that money had exchanged hands.

The shooting was “an isolated criminal incident” which did not affect its operations elsewhere in the country, the firm said last week.

Julius Berger has operated in Nigeria since 1965 and has more 600 employees in the country, according to the company’s website. Many of its staff are Nigerian nationals.

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