Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kattey, the country’s second most senior Anglican cleric, has been released by the armed men who kidnapped him last week in the Niger Delta, police said on Sunday.
Kidnapping for ransom is rife in Nigeria, particularly in the oil-producing Delta region, but the abduction of Kattey was a rare case of a religious leader being targeted.
The multi-million dollar criminal enterprise pushes up the insurance and security costs for businesses, including foreign oil majors who have often been targeted in the past.
“The archbishop was released at about 6:30 p.m. yesterday behind a filling station at Eleme in Rivers state,” police spokeswoman Angela Agabe said.
“His captors dropped him when the police were about to close in on them. No ransom was paid.”
Victims, their employers and the police rarely admit to paying ransoms because they believe it encourages more kidnappings.
The archbishop’s abduction is arguably the most high-profile since the mother of Nigeria’s Finance Minister and former World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was taken in December last year. She was later released.
The Church of Nigeria, which says it has 18 million baptized members, has the world’s second biggest Anglican following after the Church of England.