May 31, 2012 / 10:34 PM / 6 years ago

US national kidnapped in Benin is freed

COTONOU, May 31 (Reuters) - Security forces in Benin on Thursday freed a U.S. citizen lured to the West African state last week by criminals he met on the Internet, Benin’s interior ministry said.

“The kidnappers are in the hands of the police,” spokesman Frank Kinninvo said, adding that the U.S. national had been found in the Mono region of southwest Benin.

A security source said the man had travelled to Benin to meet a group of people from Benin and neighbouring Nigeria.

He was abducted and then forced to contact his family to ask for a ransom payment, the source in Benin said, adding that there were no apparent links to Islamist groups or pirates who operate in the region.

Kidnappings of foreigners are rare in Benin, a French-speaking country of about 9 million people, but there have been several abductions in Nigeria this year.

There have also been a number of cases of foreigners being kidnapped in West Africa after making contacts on the Internet over the past two years. (Reporting by Samuel Elijah; writing by Mark John; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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