Seven miners – two Nigerians, three Australians, a New Zealander, and a South African – who were attacked and kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria have been released. An official statement in the Guardian from the Perth-based mining company Macmahon Holdings confirmed the release:
“The families have all been informed of the successful release of the men and have had the opportunity to speak to their loved ones.Our team has worked around the clock in locations around the world to bring them home and I am so proud of the dedicated and professional work they have done. While we are relieved to be able to reunite the seven men with their loved ones, we are deeply saddened by the loss of the local driver Matthew Odok, who was fatally injured during the initial incident,” said Macmahon CEO Sy van Dyk.
“I believe they are all well, undergoing health checks,” Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop confirmed. “It’s obviously been a very traumatic time for them and they are all returning home to their families.”
In an earlier Guardian report on the kidnapping, Irene Ugho, head of public relations for Nigeria’s Cross River state police, explained that some other expatriates had managed to escape in the wake of the gun attack last Wednesday.
Both Ugho and Bishop maintain that neither government paid any form of ransom to free the men. Rather, Ugho credits the successful rescue on careful joint efforts between security agencies and the state government.