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Monday, September 01, 2008 

Israeli businessman released in Nigeria

This is fortunate:
The Israeli businessman who was kidnapped last week in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt was released unharmed by his captors on Monday.

Ehud Avni, from Ra'anana, was snatched from the driveway of his home in the Nigerian city on Tuesday night.

Israel Radio quoted "various sources" as saying that Avni's firm, Gilmore, was forced to pay a ransom for his release.

However, Israel's ambassador to Nigeria, Moshe Ram, estimated that no ransom was paid. He told the radio station that the Port Harcourt governor personally intervened in the case and put pressure on the kidnappers.

Army Radio also reported that Avni was freed without any ransom payment after his captors discovered that he "was not the right guy."

His abductors were demanding $12 million for his release, an Israeli embassy official had told Reuters on Friday.

Avni was released near his Port Harcourt home. An Army Radio reporter said that now that he had been freed, Avni's family had withdrawn its objection to publishing his name. He was expected to return to Israel later Monday.

Hundreds of people are abducted in the city every year against a background of political and ethnic conflict. Most abductions in the area end with a payment of ransom.
This sounds like an even worse place than some parts of Brazil. Until they can be repaired, if ever, don't visit there.

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