"Take the whites": Nigerian kidnappers

Niger Delta
Niger Delta environmental damageflickr / Sosialistisk Ungdom – SU

The Dutch people who were kidnapped in Nigeria have a ransom price of €10 million in cash on their heads. Nigerian police report that all three hostages are still alive, according to RTL Nieuws.

The Dutch resident Sunny Ofehe, who was also kidnapped, was released, and gave a press report to local media on Tuesday.

The hostages were taken while on a boat trip through the Niger Delta near the southern town of Letugbene. The kidnappers, who were earlier reported to be militants, are now reported to be pirates, a common strain of criminals in the area.

According to Nigerian businessman, Berry Negerese, who has some knowledge about the current situation, tells local media that Erhard Leffers, Marianne Vos and Jandries Groenendijk should be okay. According to Negerese, the culprits are "sea pirates, normal criminals."

Negerese financed the trip that the Dutch nationals were making to the area as part of a mission to ascertain the availability of healthcare to villagers in the region. Negerese is managing director at Mabeco, a large maritime company in oil and gas drilling actions in the region. "This is not the work of Boko Haram", the Islamist sect, he claims. Boko Haram is responsible for the kidnapping of 200 school girls in April.

All those involved are denying the theory that these are muslim militants. Sunny's wife Dorothy and her acquaintances also believe this is not the work of jihadists. According to the Telegraaf, all businessmen have to go through the local King, 'His Royal Highness Decca Emmanuel Keredel of Amatu Kingdom' to execute anything. "He will underline that the Dutch people are not involved in the oil industry", Dorothy says. The oil industry is the usual target for kidnappings of foreigners orchestrated by rebel groups.

Sunny Ofehe told about his release in a press report. He is saying that everything is being done to release the other Dutch nationals. Femi Soewu, a Nigerian who was also taken away with the other four on Sunday was released. It seems that the pirates only have interest in the Dutch hostages.

After the pirates commandeered the boat, they took all valuables with them, laptops, phones and iPads. According to Nigerian media, the group did not want to take armed soldiers with them for protection.

The families of the hostages were only informed of the identity of the kidnappers via the media, says father of Erhard, Harm (75). They can do little but sit at home, the Algemeen Dagblad reports.

Marianne Vos' husband Henricus Hendriks, is optimistic that the hostages will be okay, because the pirates are only doing it for the money, as Berry Negerese states. "Dead hostages are worthless." For that reason he hopes that everything will turn out fine.