THE Archbishop of Niger Delta Province in Nigeria, the Most Revd
Ignatius Kattey, was freed on Saturday, more than a week after he
was kidnapped by armed men (News, 13 September), writes
He was released in a stable condition on Saturday evening
without the payment of a ransom, police said. The kidnapping took
place on Friday 6 September near the Archbishop's residence in the
southern city of Port Harcourt.
On Wednesday, the Nigerian press reported that the Archbishop
had used a press conference on Tuesday to rebut claims that the
police had rescued him.
"The police did not rescue me, neither were they the ones who
rescued my wife, Beatrice," Vanguard, a Nigerian
newspaper, reported him as saying. "I saw the police for the first
time two days ago, after the incident. I heard the statements made
by the Rivers State police public relations officer. The police are
telling lies. If you cannot trust the police, then who can you
trust? I told the Commissioner of Police and he has apologised.
"I know that they made efforts but they did not rescue us. A
helicopter flew over the area more than 500 times, but the boys
[kidnappers] were smarter. They held me in a thick forest and no
one could see me there.
"On the day of my release, the kidnappers moved me and we
trekked a number of kilometres till we got to a road. Then they
gave me N200 and ordered me to walk towards a direction where I
would get a bike. We thank God for his mercies because I wouldn't
even wish my enemy to go through that experience.
"I was not tortured. They fed me on fast food once a day,
sometimes on bole [roast plantain]. They tied and chained my legs,
but one of them said 'you can't chain this man'. I slept on the
ground, beaten by rain and bitten by mosquitoes like them for up to
seven days. As an old man of 65 years, I had no choice than to stay
and swim in the forest with them."
The Archbishop said that he forgave his kidnappers, and appealed
to the authorities to review the security situation in the country
and consider the causes of his ordeal, the newspaper reported.
"From my experience, the abductors are hungry and in dire need
of means of livelihood. Some are adequately educated but lack the
enabling environment to positively express themselves. If
government will give the people potable water, light and good
roads, they will change."
Last week, Archdeacon John Chukwuemeka Adubasim, of the diocese
of Niger Delta North, described how the kidnapping had been a shock
in an area where the threat to clerics is perceived to be
On Sunday, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave thanks for
Archbishop Kattey's safe return.