Monday, 26 July 2010

Nigeria: Four kidnapped journalists released unharmed

The Nigerian National Union of Journalists (NUJ) reported on 18th July that four local journalists who were kidnapped in Abia State one week earlier had been released unharmed. According to Assistant Commissioner Emmanuel Ojukwu, four suspects have been taken into custody in connection with the kidnapping. The NUJ reports that no ransom was paid.

The kidnapping of journalists in south-eastern Nigeria – of which this is the second incident in 2010 – has attracted greater media scrutiny than the escalation of criminally-motivated kidnapping outside the core Niger Delta states (Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers).

Abia State and neighbouring Akwa Ibom State have been especially affected by the displacement of former militants from the core Niger Delta area since 2009 and their subsequent engagement in criminal kidnappings and armed robberies in neighbouring areas.

The high profile of these kidnappings - and clear expressions of the government’s outrage – may have contributed to a more effective police effort to recover the hostages and the relatively swift release of the journalists.

However, the capabilities of local police forces in Abia and Akwa Ibom States remain limited and are unlikely to be sufficient to produce a sustainable reduction in kidnapping risks in the short-term.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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