, LAGOS, July 22 – A British citizen who was kidnapped by gunmen shortly after landing at the international airport in Nigeria’s largest city has been released, an official said Monday.
“We can confirm the release of the British national following his abduction on July 16,” said Wale Adebajo, spokesman at Britain’s Deputy High Commission in Lagos, specifying that the hostage was freed on Sunday.
He made no comment on whether a ransom had been paid.
Security sources had said that the abduction was carried out as the Briton was travelling from the airport in Lagos’s Ikeja neighbourhood towards the city centre.
His driver was reported to have been shot and injured in the attack.
In southern Nigeria, there have been waves of kidnappings targeting foreigners, with the hostages typically released following a ransom payment.
Employers and officials rarely discuss such payments.
Most of the attacks have occurred around the oil rich coast involving expatriates working in the energy sector, but there has also been a rise of such incidents in Lagos.
The spike in abductions here is related to a crackdown on criminal gangs elsewhere in country, said Onah Ekhomu of Transworld Security.
“There has been a large displacement of criminals from other parts of country and as a result an inflow into Lagos state,” said the expert on crime matters in Nigeria.
He pointed specifically to the southeast, which had been notorious for abductions, as an area where police have re-enforced their efforts.