Alberta woman held hostage in Nigeria released

DRAYTON VALLEY— An Alberta woman kidnapped in Nigeria earlier this month has been released and is safe, her family and officials with Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday.

DRAYTON VALLEY— An Alberta woman kidnapped in Nigeria earlier this month has been released and is safe, her family and officials with Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday.

“It is with extreme emotion and intense relief that we are able to announce that Julie has now been released, held in safety, with protection until her return to Drayton Valley,” relatives of Julie Mulligan said in a statement.

A news release from Foreign Affairs said officials were “greatly relieved” at the development, adding she is now “safe with Canadian officials.”

“We are making sure that she received consular assistance and is able to be reunited with her family as soon as possible,” said the release.

Mulligan, 45, is a member of Rotary International who went to the West African country on April 15 with four others on a group study exchange program when she was taken hostage.

Family members including her husband, John Mulligan, said they wanted to “thank every person who said a prayer, spoke a kind word and worried for Julie’s safety … you will now forever be in our hearts to help whenever it may be required for whatever circumstance.”

There was some confusion over her status earlier Wednesday. At first, reports out of Nigeria quoted a police spokesman as saying that Mulligan was released by her captors and was safe.

Police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu later said that one man had been arrested in relation to Mulligan’s kidnapping but said she was still being held by others.

However, the outcome was clear when Mulligan phoned home from a police station in Kaduna, said family friend Alex Blais.

“We are so happy,” Blais told Drayton Valley radio station CIBW.

“We talked to her … at the police station in the town (in) Nigeria where she was kidnapped and she was safe.”

He said no ransom was paid, adding he had no details on how she was let go.

A tired-sounding John Mulligan told CIBW how the phone call with his wife went.

“Julie said, ‘John’, and I said, ‘Julie’, and she said, ‘I’m OK’ and I said, ‘where are you?’ ”

He said she told him she was with police.

“I said, ‘where are you?’ and she said, ‘I don’t know.’ She asked somebody and she said, ‘I’m in Kaduna, I’m fine, I need to get back to you.’ ”

The Edmonton Sun reported that friends and family were shouting and cheering inside the Mulligan home following that conversation, and that there were plans to open a bottle of champagne.

Mulligan’s family also thanked people for holding prayer vigils.

“Not only have the citizens prayed but they have supplied our home with food and flowers and cards to let us know of all the positive thoughts.”

While kidnapping for ransom is common in the southern Niger Delta oil region, it’s extremely rare in the heavily Muslim northern part of the country.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read