Nigerian gang demands $12m for Israeli

Aug. 29, 2008 at 8:55 PM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A Nigerian gang that kidnapped an Israeli man is demanding $12 million for the release of the construction company employee.

The gang is demanding the sum, described as the largest ransom demand in Nigerian history, in exchange for the release of the Israeli man, an employee of large-scale construction company Gilmor, Haaretz reported Friday.

Eli Golder, chief executive of Gilmor, declined to give details about the demands Thursday, saying "the situation is delicate." He asked Israeli media outlets to steer clear of details about the situation as "any publication might hurt the chances of releasing the hostage."

A spokesman for armed Nigerian group Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, said his group "will only plead with his captors to be humane, but will not intervene to allow the security operatives earn their pay by finding him and negotiating his release."

The spokesman said the group has located the hostage and would be willing to help secure his release if the Israeli ambassador to Nigeria makes an official request. However, the Israeli foreign ministry decided not to seek the group's help due to concerns that working with MEND could undermine Israel's relationship with the Nigerian government.

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