Seven mining workers freed after being kidnapped in Nigeria

Seven men kidnapped in a deadly attack in Nigeria have been released.
The men, who work for Perth-based mining company Macmahon Holdings, were in a group driving on the outskirts of the city of Calabar when they were attacked by gunmen on Wednesday. One person was killed.

The company said in a statement late on Sunday night the men – three Australians, two Nigerians, a New Zealander and a South African – had been released.

Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, confirmed the news.

“I believe they are all well, undergoing health checks and it’s obviously been a very traumatic time for them and they are all returning home to their families,” Bishop told 2GB radio on Monday.

She said the Australian government did not pay ransoms and would not say if the company the men work for did so.

No ransom was paid, according to assistant superintendent Irene Ugho, spokeswoman for the Cross River state police. Ugho did not offer details about how the men were freed.

She said: “The success of the rescue exercise was due to the combined efforts of the security agencies and the support of the state government.”

Five of the seven men were named as Australians Jack Countentz, Mark Gabberdy and Peter Zoutenbier; New Zealander Jamal Khan; and South African Wayne Smith.

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