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

Sasktachewan pup, who has extensive burns, makes her way to Red Deer

Donations accepted for Phoenix who has third degree burns on her body

Man dead in ATV collision in central Alberta

The Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a quad rollover collision that… Continue reading

One airlifted to hospital after avalanche on glacier in Yoho National Park

LAKE LOUISE, Alta. — Parks Canada says it has responded to an… Continue reading

Hundreds of Canadian troops deployed to flood zones in Quebec and N.B.

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault will visit flood-damaged regions north of… Continue reading

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ reigns over weekend box office

LOS ANGELES — “The Curse of La Llorona” (yuh-ROH’-nuh) had only good… Continue reading

New Brunswick premier urges caution as floodwaters continue to rise

FREDERICTON — Rising floodwaters have forced the closure of at least 25… Continue reading

Witnesses still struggling one year after deadly Yonge Street van attack

TORONTO — The survivor guilt settled in moments after he saw all… Continue reading

‘Shocking violation’: Parish prepares to re-bury remains after grave plundered

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Largely untended for decades, the toppled and faded… Continue reading

President attends Easter service following slew of tweets

PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump is using Easter morning to… Continue reading

Easter Sunday blasts kill at least 207 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — At least 207 people were killed and hundreds… Continue reading

Soldiers deploying to flood-prone areas as water levels rise in New Brunswick

FREDERICTON — About 120 Canadian soldiers will soon be deployed in western… Continue reading

Soldiers deploy across Quebec after flood-caused sinkhole claims woman’s life

MONTREAL — Canadian Armed Forces are deploying in three regions across Quebec,… Continue reading

Most Read