The six foreign sailors abducted by unknown gunmen along Koluama waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area in Bayelsa State, yesterday, regained their freedom.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the two Indians, one Russian and three Ukrainians were freed on Monday night after the leader of the gang identified as Ngopi settled for N1m ransom.
A security source told our correspondent that the Azuzuama community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state facilitated the release of the expatriates. It was gathered that the expatriates were set free from the creeks of the community.
“The government through the community prevailed on the kidnappers to release their victims. But the ringleader of the kidnappers said that since they had fed the expatriates for some days, they needed some money to set them free. He later collected N1m”, the source who pleaded anonymity said.
But the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kingsley Omire, who confirmed the development to our correspondent in a telephone interview, said no ransom was paid to secure the freedom of the expatriates.
“The expatriates have been released. They were released in good condition and no ransom was paid to secure their freedom”, he said.
The foreigners were abducted on January 17 when the bandits attacked an oil vessel christened Armada Tuah 101.The kidnappers had contacted the company and demanded N200m as ransom to free their victims.
Though about 15 crew members were on board the vessel at the time of the incident, the bandits took the six foreigners hostage.
The attacked vessel belonged to the Century Group of Companies, an oil servicing and marine company based in Lagos State.
A Security Supervisor attached to the company and identified as Perekeni Emmanuel reported the matter to the police in Yenagoa.