A 71-year-old American missionary has been released after being held for almost a fortnight by kidnappers in Nigeria.
Reverend Phyllis Sortor, of the Free Methodist Church, was abducted by gunmen on 23 February and her kidnappers demanded a ransom of $300,000.
According to the Kogi State Police Commissioner the missionary’s freedom was secured, as far as the police were aware, without any ransom being paid to the kidnappers.
"We are deeply grateful to all who prayed for Phyllis' safe return and praise God the family representative was able to secure her release," David W. Kendall, for the Board of Bishops, said.
The church also said in a statement: "Phyllis was aware there were risks associated with her ministry, but also knew there are very few places in the world without risks and dangers.
“As a matter of sound policy, and to help protect the many, many people who helped secure Phyllis’ freedom, we will have no comment concerning the efforts that were undertaken to secure her release.”
Rev Sortor was handed over to the Nigerian authorities and church leaders following her abduction from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, in Kogi State, where she was the administrator.
Five gunmen, two of them masked, had carried out the abduction after scaling fences surrounding the Hope Academy compound.
The kidnappers had originally demanded $300,000 in ransom money but a day later reduced it to $180,000.
Kidnapping is a major problem in Nigeria where it is a lucrative business for criminals, making them millions of pounds each year. The country has one of the worst records in the world for kidnapping.
Criminal gangs have kidnapped scores of expatriates in southern and central Nigeria over the years. Central Kogi state has also had low level activity by Islamist militants linked to insurgent group Boko Haram, security sources said.Reuse content