by Jeff Brailey

Copyright 2007 Wordworks Features News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A Filipina became the latest kidnap victim in the oil-rich Niger Delta where the taking of foreigners shows no sign of letting up.
The woman was abducted at midday from the center of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, the center of Nigeria’s oil industry, by gunmen who immediately switched off her phone and took her to an unknown destination.

“She was probably on her way to the bank. She was taken close to a bank,” Felix Ogbaudu, a state police commissioner, told Agence France-Presse.

“As far as I know this is the first-ever female hostage in Nigeria, certainly in the last two years,” a private security advisor told AFP, agreeing with Ogbaudu that the abduction’s timing and location was unusually audacious.

The latest two incidents bring to 26 the number of Filipino nationals being held hostage in southern Nigeria. The other 24 were seized from a cargo vessel in Nigerian waters in January.

Their kidnapping prompted Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to slap a temporary ban on her nationals coming to work in Nigeria, where nearly 4,000 Filipinos are already employed.

The Phillipina woman abducted by unknown gunmen was a member of the Oyibos On Line Expatriate Forum. The forum is a tool used for foreigners in that beleagured sity to communicate and warn each other of impending dangerous situations. Little did the mother of two children know she would be the subject of one of those threads in the Oyibos On Line Security Message Board. Instead of reporting what happened, let me recreate the chilling and poignant exchange of messages that took place yesterday afternoon.

L:
A filipino woman has been kidnapped and was allowed to call her husband from the swamps. Does anyone have more info on this?
I’m hearing she was pulled out of her car at Garrison, chloroformed unconscious.

C:
We are working hard at this time to get more detail but for now we are confirming that a woman was taken this morning.

If we can add any information to this then we will

F:
can confirm from sources very close to those involved, my thoughts are with her husband and children

K:
if it is true ,means its not at all good that they are now aim ladies as well.. plsssss confirm weather it is right info or not!!!!

B’s Daughter:
hi this is farzaneh (beths daughter) my mother beth is the filipina woman kidnapped. heres the story my dad;s iranian ok..he picked me and my bro up from school at 12.20..but school closes at 2.40. on the way out he said Mom is missing…weve been calling ppl lots…her phones are unavailable and unreachable..she went to the bank at 10am..she didnt reach the bank because the bank ppl said she didnt go there…time passed…we went to several places (sorry i dont feel its safe to mention who we visited and wher we went)..but around 3 we got home..dad said that at 10.27 my mom gave him a miss call..he tried caling her back lots of times it didnt answer.after an hour it was unavailable. then around 10.30 also she called the house line and my mom’s cousin answered it…she said that she didnt hear my moms voice but she heard the voice of a man! but she couldnt get what he was saying. so mom was trying to contact us!but we couldnt reach my mom… about an hour ago, while i was sitting with my dad and his friend and someof mom’s friends who came to visit, suddenly my moms fone called us! i answered it..i heard strong wind..then i heard a man like a robot saying -i have your woman- i was soo scared i was crying i put the phone down. wen he called again my dad spoke to him..he said-if you call the police or embassy you wont c ure wife again-…my dad said let me takl to my wife see if shes okay.. later dad told us that mom said that at the junction before the bank, they stopped her car, they put somthign on her nose and made her unconcious. then they put her in a bus then into a speed boat and shes now in a swamp…she deosnt know where the car is..thank God mom is fine! the kidnapper said he will call back later..til now, no news. mom drove alone..in her sports car mercedez with only two sitters…mom is the FIRST woman to be kidnapped here..now they started with women? why mom!!! i want her back! safe!! this is the first time in my life i see dad cry..me and my little brother who is only 11..we want mom back so much! oh God…why???? EFF this place!! by the way, im 13yrs old…its hard for me too…

OA:
cant believe that Beth’s reply is real

L:
that’s her daughter using her mom’s account. i know her. she originally asked me to post it on the website using my account, but she used her mom’s instead.

J:
Hang in there farzaneh, be calm and take some deep breaths. You sound very brave. People are praying right now for your mom’s safe return. Have faith that she is going to be alright. You be strong and take care of dad and your brother. You and your brother, Dad and especially your mom are in the thoughts and prayers of thousands of people right now.

B’s daughter:
its farzaneh again…just want to tell all of you thank you for your support..i know all we can do is pray..i know my mom was always on this website everyday…checking out latest news on these kidnappings..so good thing she didnt log out so i can use her accout..we’r stilll waiting for the kidnappers to call back, as the promised. all we can really do is pray..thank you all. will tell u more when i get more info..for now, things are stil the same

S: farzaneh Thank you for you bravery, in letting us know about this incident your mom’s future are in our prayers, and god will not let a hair on her head be harmed, stay stong my girl, and take care of your little Brother. And may god guide your family thru this difficult time.

OO:
Our thoughts are with you in this very difficult time. Be brave Farzaneh as it seems you are and help your family through this. I am praying that you will soon be back together again.

TC: Farzaneh,
You have already exhibited considerable bravery and fortitude in sharing your sad experience with us this evening. Anyone who has read your post will be moved, be thinking of your Mom and all your family and praying for all of you to be strong. Here, we are all one family at a time like this and I am sure we all join in wishing and praying that your Mom’s ordeal will soon be ended with her safe release.

BO:
Be strong and take courage. It will come to pass.

WW:
We can imagine what your family must be going through, it’s our prayer that your mom will return soon and unharmed.

X:
Farzaneh, Rest assured they will not harm your mom and she will come back home safe sound, sooner than later. This sure is the handiwork of petty criminals not the real people fighting for the upliftment of Niger Delta indegines. I know Nigerians to be good hearted people by and large and they have never harmed or mistreated anyone. You are a brave young lady and have demonstrated one great deal of courage and grit. Take good care of your dad and brother and be a pillar of strength for them. God is watching and will answer all your prayers soon.
The posts continued in this vein until this startling message was typed by Farzaneh:
i dont know if im supposed to say what just happened…ten minutes after my brother, father and i gathered for prayers, the kidnapper called again with my mom’s phone..four times they called and said this same thing “your stupid wife fell off the boat and she is dead”. they could be lying..its so hard to believe..we dont know yet how true this is..just hope it’s not!!! oh God!!!! im just on the net trying to contact people, while dad’s busy with his phones…i dont think we can sleep tonight…but thanks all of you for the messages…but this story is really tragic.. -far

As of 5:30 AM local time February 8, Farzaneh still has not been reunited with her mother.

Jeff Brailey is a retired US Army master sergeant who works in Nigeria. He blogs at http:wordworks2001.blogspot.com