Kidnapped Lebanese man in Nigeria released

A Lebanese man who had been kidnapped in Nigeria earlier this week was released, the mayor of his hometown said Friday.Charbel Akiki was released Thursday evening in a forest, Kfar Zebian Mayor Bassam Salameh told the Daily Star. “Everything is going well,” he added.

The state-run National News Agency reported that Akiki was transferred to one of Lagos’ hospitals by ambulance, accompanied by police protection.

Salameh said Thursday that Akiki had been abducted and that a second Lebanese man, Charbel Jabbour, who works with him, had been injured during a land dispute with a local tribe.

“Thanks to the efforts and follow-up action of Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, the Lebanese citizen Charbel Akiki was released yesterday in good health,” a statement from Bassil’s office reported Friday.

The Foreign Ministry said Thursday it was following up on the issue, and had instructed Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria Houssam Diab to communicate with Nigerian authorities regarding Akiki and Jabbour.

The ministry added that Jabbour underwent surgery for his injury and was recovering.

The incident marked the second kidnapping of a Lebanese national in Nigeria in recent weeks. Last month, Ahmad al-Sarji, a native of Sidon’s Haret Saida, was kidnapped and killed by Boko Haram militants.

A Foreign Ministry source told The Daily Star at the time that Lebanon and its ambassador to Nigeria had been in contact with the victim’s employee to secure Sarji’s ransom before he was murdered. Nigeria’s police had previously announced that gunmen had abducted the Lebanese construction worker and killed another man in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

Kidnappings are rampant in Nigeria, where both locals and foreigners are targeted, mostly for ransom.

The Daily Star Lebanon

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