US Missionary kidnapped in Kogi regains freedom

Report revealed that an American woman kidnapped by masked gunmen in Kogi State last month was released on Friday and handed over to US government officials.

Phyllis Sortor, a missionary with the Free Methodist Church, was seized on February 23 in the village of Emiworo in Kogi state.

“She has been rescued and given to the American authorities,” Kogi state police spokesman Collins Sola Adebayo said, adding that no ransom was paid “as far as police are concerned.”.

Kogi’s police chief Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi said she was dropped by her captors in the bushlands outside the village of Eru and “raised an alarm which attracted the villagers.”

Police deployed to the area and brought Sortor to Lokoja.

Her church confirmed the release but declined to provide details on the circumstances.

“As a matter of sound policy, and to help protect the many, many people who helped secure Phyllis’ freedom, we will have no comment concerning the efforts that were undertaken to secure her release,” Bishop David Kendall said in a statement.

US embassy officials in Abuja were not immediately available to comment.

Sortor had spent years living in Africa, including Mozambique — where she spent much of her childhood — later working in Rwanda and, since 2005, Nigeria, Kendall said

Her work in Kogi was focused primarily on educational development and conflict resolution between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities who frequently clash in central Nigeria’s Middle Belt region, the church statement further said.

Foreign nationals have often been kidnapped in Nigeria by local gangs who typically release hostages following a ransom payment.



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