Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Nigerian police intensified the search for the second-highest ranking archbishop in the West African country’s Anglican church after he was kidnapped near the country’s oil hub of Port Harcourt.
Ignatius Kattey, Archbishop of the southern Niger Delta Province, was kidnapped late on Sept. 6 when he was on his way to Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital. His wife, Beatrice Kattey, was abducted with him and was later released by the kidnappers.
“The abductors of the bishop have not called and have also not made any ransom demand,” Rivers state police spokeswoman Angela Agabe said in an interview today in Port Harcourt.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and most populous country, ranked fourth in a list of top 10 threat areas for kidnap for ransom in 2012, according to red24 Plc, a U.K. security-services company. Nigeria’s population of more than 160 million people is divided between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south, where all of the country’s oil is pumped.
Nigeria’s Anglican church has more than 18 million members, according to its website. Several calls made to the church weren’t answered.
Islamist militant groups such as Boko Haram have carried out abductions though their operations have been confided to the north and the capital, Abuja. The majority of reported kidnappings in the south are carried out for ransom.
Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s mother was kidnapped from her house in the southern Delta state in December and spent five days in captivity before she was released. Okonjo-Iweala said her mother’s kidnappers told her she was abducted because the minister didn’t yield to pressures to authorize payment of unverified fuel-subsidy claims to gasoline importers.
Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest crude producer, produced an average of 2.02 million barrels of oil a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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