The French embassy in Nigeria has confirmed that one of its citizens abducted by gun men for close to a year has escaped from his abductors.
Francis Collomp, 63, is due to fly back to Paris today after he managed to escape miraculously on Saturday while his captors were said to be praying. Collomp had been held since being abducted by the Ansaru Islamist group on December 19, 2012.
Collomp was kidnapped by about 30 Ansaru gun men who attacked the residence of French firm Vergnet, the company for which he was working for in the state of Katsina on the border with Niger. Ansaru later claimed responsibility of his abduction.
Ansaru in late also September released a video of Collomp reading a statement, in which he could be heard calling for his safe release.
Police commissioner in Kaduna, Olufemi Adenaike told news men at a press briefing that he was brought to the police station by a motor cycle rider.
“Yesterday his captor forgot to lock his cell, and while they were praying, he slipped out and ran, he was brought in here by a motor cycle rider’’, commissioner Adenaike said.
Wearing jeans and a light blue shirt, Collomp looked extremely tired as he emerged from the police station in Kaduna and was handed over to french embassy officials.
News of his freedom came amid an emotional roller-coaster in France in the last three weeks over foreign hostages.
.In October, four French nationals were freed Niger after more than three years in captivity but two Radio France International journalists were killed by militants after abducting them in northern town of Kidal.
Last week, local reporters in Cameroon reported that a Roman Catholic priest from France has also been abducted from his home. Georges Vandenbeusch, 42, is believed to have been taken across the border to northern Nigeria. No group has claim responsibility of his abduction.
France now has seven hostages officially being held abroad, including the priest, four journalists in Syria and two people taken in Mali.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News