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AP Worldstream: Philippines says engineer held in Nigeria freed, denies woman kidnapped

Published: Mar 09, 2007

A Filipino engineer kidnapped in Nigeria a month ago was released unharmed, a Foreign Affairs official said Friday.

The official also denied reports that a Filipina businesswoman had been taken captive in Nigeria, saying she instead returned to the Philippines.

Winston Helera, who works for the Shell Petroleum Development Corp., was kidnapped on Feb. 6 in Nigeria’s restive southern oil region, which has seen a wave of kidnappings this year.

He was released Thursday in good condition, and will be reunited with his family in the Philippines soon, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Conejos told reporters.

Conejos said Nigerian police reported on Feb. 7 that Josiebeth Foroozan had been abducted in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt as she got out of her car.

He said the woman boarded a plane from the Nigerian city of Lagos bound for Frankfurt the same day that she was reported kidnapped and arrived in the Philippines three days later. He cited airline and immigration records showing that she arrived back home.

“What happened was not a kidnapping case,” he said. “After 30 days of the alleged kidnapping, nobody has come forward to claim the kidnapping or make demands for her release.”

He said her case will be investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation.

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