Nigerian police have arrested four suspects in connection with the kidnapping of four journalists freed after being held for a week in the country's oil-rich south, authorities said on Monday.
"Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the kidnap of the four journalists. They are in our custody and undergoing interrogation," national police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu told AFP.
He declined to provide further details.
The abduction of the Nigerian newsmen, the second involving journalists this year, sparked outrage in Africa's most populous country of 150 million people where there are regular kidnappings in the south but mostly of oil workers.
The incident also led to harsh criticism of the police force.
Nigerian gunmen who kidnapped the four journalists on July 11 in the country's oil-rich Niger Delta released them on Sunday.
The kidnappers dumped the four unhurt in a forest in a remote area of southeastern Abia state, a government official said.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists and officials said that no ransom was paid to the abductors -- though they had initially demanded 250 million naira before reducing the amount to 30 million naira (200,000 dollars, 155,000 euros).
One of the victims said after their release that the kidnappers were forced to let them go as authorities closed in.
The newsmen and their driver, who were seized in Abia state while on their way back from a meeting, returned to Lagos on Sunday, hours after they regained their freedom.
About 600 suspected kidnappers have been arrested across the country in the past few months. Some of them are still being investigated while others are undergoing trial, Ojukwu said.
In the other kidnapping involving journalists this year, three M-Net Supersport crew members -- a South African and two Nigerians -- were seized in March in Imo state, which neighbours the oil hub of Rivers State. They were also freed about a week later.
Source: AFP Global Edition