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Police free two Spanish men kidnapped in Nigeria

Police in Nigeria have freed two Spanish men who were lured to the West African country two weeks ago for a business deal and were kidnapped for ransom shortly after their arrival, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

world Updated: Mar 31, 2009 23:17 IST

Police in Nigeria have freed two Spanish men who were lured to the West African country two weeks ago for a business deal and were kidnapped for ransom shortly after their arrival.

The Spaniards were seized in the commercial capital Lagos and taken to a remote location in Imo state, more than 400 km (250 miles) to the southeast, national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said.

"The kidnappers demanded a ransom of 200,000 euros ($266,000) ... but the police dissuaded the Spanish embassy from dealing with the kidnappers," Ojukwu said.

"We gathered our operatives and were able to get to their hideout and secure the release of the two men. Four of the kidnappers were arrested. One of them is now at large," he added. The men have been handed over to Spanish diplomats.

Kidnapping for ransom, often of foreign oil workers, is frequent in the creeks of the Niger Delta, a vast wetland region which is home to Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.

But abductions are relatively rare in other areas.

Police in Lagos on Sunday freed a Lebanese construction worker who was kidnapped from a building site on the edge of a lagoon by gunmen in a speedboat in what appeared to be a labour dispute. Six of the abductors were shot d