Canadian hostage freed in north Nigeria

Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:12pm EDT
 
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ABUJA (Reuters) - A Canadian woman kidnapped two weeks ago in northern Nigeria was released late on Wednesday, the Canadian government said.

An unidentified source close to the situation told Reuters earlier that Julie Mulligan was freed unharmed in the northern city of Kaduna. The 45-year-old Canadian was kidnapped on April 16 while visiting Nigeria for a conference.

"We are greatly relieved to confirm that Ms. Mulligan has been released and is now safe with Canadian officials. We are making sure that she receives consular assistance and is able to be reunited with her family as soon as possible," Alain Cacchione, a spokesman with Canada's Foreign Affairs Department, said in an e-mailed statement.

"Throughout this case, Canadian officials worked closely with Rotary International and Nigerian officials. We would like to thank those who worked with us to ensure this positive outcome."

Abductions are common in the creeks of Nigeria's southern Niger Delta, the heartland of its oil and gas industry, but comparatively rare elsewhere.

More than 200 foreigners have been seized in the delta in recent years. Most have been freed unharmed after a ransom payment.

(Reporting by Randy Fabi, Additional reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto)