Lebanese national snatched in north Nigeria is freed

KANO, Nigeria Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:33am EST

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KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - A Lebanese man abducted by gunmen in northern Nigeria's main city of Kano this week was released unharmed on Friday, police said, denying that any ransom was paid.

Gunmen seized Hassan Zein from the Sharada industrial area of Kano on Monday morning, in an area plagued by Islamist militant groups known for protracted and often deadly kidnappings.

Authorities feared that Ansaru, an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group that specializes in kidnapping and often killing foreigners, and which is based in Kano, was behind it.

Police spokesman Magaji Majiya said Zein was found on the roadside unharmed after several main roads leading out of the city were blocked as part of the search for him.

"The abducted Lebanese has been reunited with his family. No arrest has been made yet, but investigation is in top gear with a view to arresting the perpetrators of this act," he said.

(Reporting by Ibrahim Shuaibu; Editing by Tim Cocks and Mark Trevelyan)

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