Nigerian police free Turkish construction workers kidnapped for $1m ransom

Nigerian police announced on Friday that they had rescued four Turkish construction workers who had been kidnapped in Kwara State, west central Nigeria.

The workers were abducted by six armed men at a bar in a village of Gbale at 11.30pm on Saturday, 20 July.

The abduction of foreigners is not uncommon in Nigeria, however the incident caused surprise, as Kwara was considered one of the safest states in the country.

The police said a ransom of $1m had been demanded, but was not paid. Three male suspects had been arrested.

Police Commissioner Kayode Egbetokun gave details of what had happened at a press conference. He said: "One member of the gang named Buba was nabbed in Gbugbu village with an AK47 rifle on Thursday, while another member involved in negotiating the ransom was nabbed on the morning of 26 July. These arrests put pressure on the remaining gang members to release the Turkish hostages unconditionally."

According to the BBC, the workers were found in a bush by a team of state police, local vigilantes and officers sent from the capital, Abuja. Police are now seeking the rest of the gang.

Yasin Colak, one of the freed hostages, said they were hidden in the daytime and would spend all might moving. He said: "We had bread and water for a week. We sometimes ate things like watermelon we found in nearby fields. We are fine now. Thanks for the prayers."

The incident followed the abduction in 2017 of two Turkish employees of construction firm VKS Nigeria Construction. They were abducted from their hotel on 9 April in the town of Eket in Akwa Ibom state. The two were also freed, and five suspect arrested.

Image: Construction work under way in Kwara State (Abdulkafeel Safiya Lami/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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