Nigerian group slams Arutz Sheva

MEND rescinds offer to mediate kidnapped Israeli's release after news Website names it "terrorist."

Port Harcourt 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Port Harcourt 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The armed Nigerian group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), said Thursday it knew where a kidnapped Israeli businessman was being held. The militants stated they also knew the identity of the four men who snatched the Israeli from the driveway of his home in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt on Tuesday night. However, the group stated it had decided not to mediate in efforts to release the man because the Right-wing Arutz Sehva Internet news site referred to the group as "terrorists." The group reported it had approached Israel and suggested to mediate in the negotiations with the kidnappers, but that it is withdrawing the proposal. The group stated it would be willing to mediate in the release negotiations if the Israeli site published a formal apology. Later, Arutz Sheva removed the phrase "terrorists" from its description of MEND. Almost 48 hours after the Israeli businessman was abducted, police were still waiting to hear from the kidnappers on Thursday. The victim's family has asked that his name be withheld from publication. "My biggest concern is for the man's health," Port Harcourt police Commissioner Hassan Bala told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday afternoon. "The abducted man is diabetic and we call on the abductors to at least contact us for the sake of the man's health." Police were searching for an accomplice who knew the victim, Bala said. In 90 percent of these cases someone from the inside helped the abductors with information, including the schedule of the kidnap victim, he said. Bala said it was not unusual that two days had passed since the abduction without word from the abductors. "It takes sometimes even three days," he said. The Israeli man's driver told police he had no idea who might have wanted to abduct him, Bala said. Foreign Ministry officials declined to be interviewed on the subject on Thursday, and the family has been instructed to keep a low profile until things become clearer. The 60-year-old businessman was kidnapped at gunpoint on Tuesday night in the southern city where hundreds of of people are abducted every year against a background of political and ethnic conflict. Most abductions in the area end with a payment of ransom.