Seattle missionary kidnapped in Nigeria is released

American missionary Phyllis Sortor of Seattle, who was abducted in Nigeria, has been released

A Seattle missionary who was kidnapped in Nigeria two weeks ago has been released, according to a statement by her church and news reports.

Phyllis Sortor, 71, was released Friday evening "into the care of authorities and Free Methodist Church leaders," Bishop David Kendall said in a statement on the church website.

"We are deeply grateful to all who prayed for Phyllis' safe return and praise God the family representative was able to secure her release," Kendall said.

Armed men abducted her Feb. 23 from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, in Kogi state.

The Free Methodist Church, USA, would not provide details of Sortor's release.

Kidnappers had demanded a ransom, according to Nigerian police. It was unclear whether a ransom was paid.

"As a matter of sound policy, and to help protect the many, many people who helped secure Phyllis’ freedom, we will have no comment concerning the efforts that were undertaken to secure her release," Kendall said in the statement.

Missionary work runs in Sortor's family. She is the daughter of Free Methodist missionaries and spent her childhood in Mozambique. After spending most of her adult life in Seattle, she and her husband, Jim, moved to Rwanda, where they ministered for almost six years, according to the statement.

They then moved to Nigeria, where she stayed even after her husband's death in 2008. She worked with the International Child Care Ministries, which is the church's child sponsorship program, and helped establish schools.

"Phyllis was aware there were risks associated with her ministry, but also knew there are very few places in the world without risks and dangers," Kendall said in the statement.

For more news, follow @smasunaga.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World