The car believed to be involved in the kidnapping.
The car believed to be involved in the kidnapping. Contributed

Company tight lipped as to whether a ransom was paid

UPDATE 1.30PM: IT'S understood a convoy of vehicles carrying three Australians was attacked by a group of up to 30 militants near Calabar, Nigeria on Wednesday last week. 

It was confirmed last week the driver of one vehicle was killed during the attack when the seven workers were abducted, including former CQ man Peter Zoutenbier. 

Reports indicate one Australian was able to escape the ambush by hiding under a vehicle.

According to Commissioner of police in Nigeria's Cross River state Jimoh Ozi-Obeh no ransom was paid for their release.

YESTERDAY: THE SEVEN men who were abducted in Nigeria last week have been released and are set to return home to their families.

Macmahon Holdings Limited has confirmed the release of all seven of its men, one being former Central Queensland man Peter Zoutenbier, who were abducted near its operations in Calabar, Nigeria on Wednesday June 22.

Peter Zoutenbier
Peter Zoutenbier Contributed

The condition of Mr Zoutenbier, 58, is unknown at this stage but Macmahon confirms five of the men have been injured, two of them seriously injured and all are currently receiving attention from a team of medical specialists. The two uninjured men are also undergoing medical assessment.

Arrangements have been made for the men's safe return to their families, once they receive medical clearance to travel.

It was confirmed last week the seven employees who were abducted included three Australians, two Nigerians, a New Zealander and a South African. 

Macmahon CEO, Sy van Dyk commended the men for the courage they displayed throughout the ordeal.

"Our men have been through a traumatic experience, and we have mobilised medical and other support teams in Nigeria to provide immediate support," Mr van Dyk said. 

"I also thank the men's families for working so closely with the company during what has been an extremely difficult time for them as well. They too have endured an incredibly stressful experience.

"The families have all been informed of the successful release of the men and have had the opportunity to speak to their loved ones. Our team has worked around the clock in locations around the world to bring them home and I am so proud of the dedicated and professional work they have done.

"While we are relieved to be able to reunite the seven men with their loved ones, we are deeply saddened by the loss of the local driver Matthew Odok, who was fatally injured during the initial incident."

Mr van Dyk praised the efforts of the Nigerian authorities which have worked closely with the company throughout the incident.

"We are very grateful for the professional support we have received from the authorities on the ground in Nigeria," he said. "The assistance of local and federal agencies has been invaluable."

He also praised the efforts of the Australian, New Zealand and South African authorities and the company's security advisors who have supported Macmahon's crisis management team since the men's abduction on Wednesday.

"This has been an incredible team effort and our highest priority now is to finish the job by continuing to work together to get our people back safely to their families and homes.

"While we understand the media's interest in these developments we ask that the privacy of all the families be respected at this time."



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