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Local missionary kidnapped in Nigeria ‘safely released’, church says (video)

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SEATTLE -- Local missionary Phyllis Sorter, who had been kidnapped in Nigeria last month, was "safely released" Friday, the Free Methodist Church announced.

"We thank God Phyllis Sortor, Free Methodist missionary to Nigeria, was safely released today, Friday, March 6, early evening Nigeria time, into the care of authorities and Free Methodist Church leaders," the church said on its blog.

"She had been abducted February 23. We are deeply grateful to all who prayed for Phyllis’ safe return and praise God the family representative was able to secure her release.

"As a matter of sound policy, and to help protect the many, many people who helped secure Phyllis’ freedom, we will have no comment concerning the efforts that were undertaken to secure her release.

"Please continue to pray for Phyllis as she processes the ordeal she has faced. Also pray for Phyllis’ family members who have been profoundly affected by this experience. We are reaching out to them and will continue to minister to them in the days ahead."

Last month, in Nigeria, Kogi state Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi said five men kidnapped Sortor from her workplace and were demanding a ransom of 60 million Naira ($301,500).

Sortor was based at the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state.

Map of Kogi NigeriaKogi state is located away from the areas where Boko Haram operates, making it likely that the kidnapping was not related to terrorism. Police have not said if they suspect a certain group or band of criminals.

Sortor runs a nongovernmental organization that educates nomadic Fulani children, the police commissioner said.According to her biography on the church's website, Sortor is the financial administrator of Hope Academy.

"A special friendship with a clan of nomadic Fulani has given Phyllis the opportunity to open additional schools for Fulani children and their parents," the website says.

The commissioner said five men scaled the wall of the school where Sortor's office is and "whisked her away," jumping back over the wall and fleeing to the nearby mountains.

Two of the men were masked, and they fired shots into the air to scare people away during the kidnapping, Ogunjemilusi said.

 

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