Israeli released for ransom in Nigeria abduction case

Nigerian President Goodluck and Netanyahu

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (L) in Jerusalem with PM Netanyahu in 2014. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

In a recent Nigeria abduction case, an Israeli was released for ransom. His case is one among many in a rising trend of abductions.

An Israeli citizen was recently abducted by an unspecified group in Nigeria and held for ransom in the jungle for five days. He was released after the ransom money was paid.

The 70-year-old infrastructure consultant was in Nigeria for business purposes. When he missed his flight home, the company that sent him knew that something had to be wrong and, after a brief search, determined that he had been abducted.

After establishing contact with the kidnappers, the company entered negotiations for his release. The abductors demanded $500,000.

The company subsequently paid the sum.

“I want to forget the whole story and move on,” the hostage said after being set free. “All in all, they treated me fairly well and took care of food and medications,” he added, although he conceded that twice he had been lightly beaten.

Abductions for Ransom – A Growing Plague

Israel’s foreign ministry followed the developments closely.

“Abductions are common in Nigeria,” Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria Uri Palti told Israel Hayom. The West African country’s economy is growing and developing and is therefore attractive to entrepreneurs. Israel, in fact, has economic interests and investments there.

A man held by ISIS. (Dabiq)

A man held by ISIS. (Dabiq)

“I have been in Nigeria for two years and this is the second Israeli I have seen abducted,” Palti continued. The abductors target men who were sent by large companies, he explained, because they expect that their demands will be met, which is most often the case. “They collect actual intelligence on the employee and the company,” and they won’t go after just anybody, he stressed.

Yotsna Lalji, a UN specialist monitoring al-Qaeda, told a meeting of the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee in November that an estimated $120 million in ransom money was paid to terrorist groups around the world between 2004 and 2012.

Lalji warned that this lucrative method of terror is on the rise, as is the number terror organizations themselves. She said that terrorist groups operating in the Middle East, Asia and Africa have made kidnapping “the core al-Qaeda tactic for generating revenue.”