The State Security Service has arrested seven individuals suspected to have a hand in the kidnapping of United Arab Emirates national, Mohammed Khamis Ali, who was released from captivity on March 19 after being held for 60 days.
The SSS said on Thursday that the seven-man gang had lured the Emirati business man into Nigeria on 20 January, under the hoax of a business deal in the nation’s commercial hub of Lagos. He had been seized and held prisoner in a remote locale near Osun state.
“(Al Ali) was lured to visit Nigeria for a phantom business transaction by a fake company, Finuche Investments, was abducted by a kidnap syndicate and held hostage for about 60 days,” SSS spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar told reporters.
Kidnapping has become a major enterprise in Africa’s most populous nation, with the vast majority of the victims being Nigerian, but in recent months, a number of foreigners have been abducted, including the British and Italian nationals that were abducted and killed shortly before a failed rescue operation by British and Nigerian forces.
Ogar reporters that while the seven gang members, who had been tasked to guard al Ali during his captivity, are now in their custody, the masterminds of the attack still remain at large.
She addressed reporters, with the suspects behind her as she spoke. The suspects claimed that they had released the Emirati after it had become apparent that their bosses were no longer contacting them with further instructions on what to do with their victim.
Neither Ogar nor the suspects mentioned payment of a ransom.
The SSS spokesman said the seven suspected kidnappers will be charged to court while investigations continue in order to fish out the kidnapping mastermind.