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Abductions as a norm. Nigerian pipeline (archives) Photo: AFP
Abductions as a norm. Nigerian pipeline (archives) Photo: AFP

Israeli held hostage in Nigeria released

Businessman Ehud Avni, 60, set free after being abducted by gunmen last week; motive for kidnapping still unknown

Published: 09.01.08, 10:23 / Israel News

Ehud Avni, 60, an Israeli businessman who was abducted from a parking lot in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt last week has been set free, Nigerian police reported Monday. He was reported to be doing well. 


According to police spokeswoman Rita Inoma-Abbey, the police arrested Avni's driver on suspicion of involvement in the abduction.


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Avni's family, which spent the past week frantic for his safety, was elated by the news of his release. "We're ecstatic. We got dad back, this doesn’t happen every day," his daughter told Ynet. "They just let him go around 1:30 am."


Avni was able to speak to his family shortly after his release, and told them he was doing well.


Last Wednesday saw one of Nigeria's main militant groups say it would to negotiate Avni's release if asked to do so. 

"We may assist the Israeli government in locating and negotiating the release of the hostage if requested to do so through its ambassador," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in an e-mailed statement.


The abduction of foreign workers from Nigeria's oil industry is a known phenomenon. Hundreds of local and foreign workers employed in these facilities have been kidnapped in recent years.


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