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Kidnapped US Missionary Released in Nigeria

State of Kogi, Nigeria
State of Kogi, Nigeria

A 71-year-old missionary kidnapped last month in central Nigeria was freed Friday.

The U.S.-based Free Methodist Church said Phyllis Sortor was released into the care of authorities and church leaders.

Bishop David Kendall said in a statement on the church's website that Sortor "was aware there were risks associated with her ministry, but also knew there are very few places in the world without risks and dangers."

Sortor, who was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiwroro, Kogi state, had been instrumental in establishing schools in Kogi state for the children of Fulani herdsmen.

NBC News reported last month that Sortor's captors contacted a friend of hers, demanding nearly $300,000 in ransom.

The state where the missionary was taken is not a common area of operation for Nigerian militant group Boko Haram.

The Kogi state police commissioner, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, said at the time of the abduction that he thought the kidnapping was the work of a criminal gang.