The Bayelsa Police Command on Thursday confirmed the release of four foreigners kidnapped by pirates on Dec. 13, 2012. The foreigners were kidnapped about 74 kilometres off the Atlantic coast of Bayelsa.
Three of the victims were Italians while the fourth victim, a sailor, whose nationality could not be ascertained, were abducted on board 'MV Asso Ventuno' by gunmen suspected to be pirates.
Following the incident, the Joint Military Task Force(JTF) in the Niger Delta, launched a manhunt to track down the gunmen and free the victims, but to no avail. However, Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Fidelis Odunna, who confirmed the release of the victims Thursday in Yenagoa, could not give more details of the release.
"I can confirm that the kidnapped victims have been released. We got the information this morning that the victims have been freed by their captors.
"What we don't know is the circumstances which they were freed. Whether ransom was paid or not is what we don't know. But it is confirmed that they have been set free," Odunna said. When contacted on phone, JTF Media Coordinator, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, however, told NAN that the task force was not aware of the foreigners' release.