Nigerian authorities say gunmen have released four abducted Catholic nuns unharmed. The nuns’ church says no ransom was paid.
Imo State police commissioner Micheal Abattam said Wednesday the four Nigerian nuns were released “unhurt” without saying whether a payment was made to secure their release.
In a separate statement, officials with the Congregation of Sisters of Jesus the Savior Convent also confirmed the nuns release, and said no ransom was paid.
A spokesperson of the Catholic Society of Nigeria (CSN), Micheal Umoh says the sisters are recovering from their time in custody. He spoke to VOA via phone.
“At the moment, we’re thanking God that they’ve been released, they’re undergoing some therapy and care. I think it’s after all that that we can begin to discuss with them what they went through.”
The four women were abducted near the town of Okigwe on Sunday while on their way to a thanksgiving mass.
Armed groups kidnapping for ransom has become rampant in northwest and central Nigeria and has recently increased in the southeast.
Days before the nuns were kidnapped, a Catholic priest and a seminarian were also kidnapped in the same region. The hostages are often released after paying ransom but some have been killed.
The chief press secretary to the Imo State government, Oguwike Nwachukwu, says authorities are taking measures against the recent spate of kidnapping attacks.
“All I know is that working in collaboration with security agencies in terms of information, precisely last week, the inspector general of police was here to formally launch armored personnel carriers that the governor procured for the police high command. So far so good, I think we’re winning the battle.”
Since last year, southeast Nigeria has seen a surge in violent attacks blamed on a separatist group, the Indigeneous People of Biafra or IPOB.
According to local media reports, more than 100 security operatives have been killed there in violent clashes.
IPOB denies responsibility for attacks.