Formerly homeless 'B' bids an emotional farewell to Te Puea Marae

Marae 'B' has been at the marae for 12 nights with her father and four siblings. Source: 1 NEWS



MFAT sends envoy to Nigeria amid Kiwi hostage negotiation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it has sent an official to Abuja in Nigeria as a New Zealand citizen remains the hostage of an unknown group.

The Kiwi was part of a group of Lafarge Africa employees taken hostage yesterday in the city of Calabar yesterday by unknown gunmen.

Two other hostages, both Australian, managed to escape their captors.

There has been no contact yet between the kidnappers and the New Zealander's family or anyone from the Government.

New Zealand's government has said it will not pay any ransom, as that would put a bounty on any New Zealand who travels to a dangerous part of the world, but it would do anything else it could to help get the person back.

MFAT said it would not be providing any further comments, "as it is not in the interests of the New Zealander being held or the next of kin."

A Kiwi is among seven people who were kidnapped at gunpoint on their way to work in Nigeria. Source: 1 NEWS

Hostages worth up to $1m to criminals - professor

Waikato University Professor Alexander Gillespie says the standard price for a western hostage in Nigeria is more than $1 million.

He says Nigeria is "endemic for hostage taking", there have been more than 200 since 2006.

"The vast majority are for ransom, they are not for religious reasons… they are stolen to order".

Professor Gillespie says that if the men were taken by Islamic group Boko Haram that's the "worst case scenario" because they are more likely to be kidnapping to make a point rather than wanting a ransom.

New Zealand has a policy not to negotiate with captors and does not pay ransoms. The UK and US also take this stance.

Professor Gillespie says New Zealanders can be "naive" and should follow the travel warnings.

John Key says paying a ransom could put a bounty on the head of any Kiwi who travels to a dangerous part of the world. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand does not have an embassy in Nigeria so negotiations will be done with the help of the UK and Australia.

The Kiwi is amongst a group of three expatriate cement industry workers who were taken. Source: 1 NEWS


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Man charged over death of two-year-old girl in South Auckland granted bail

The man charged with unlawful possession of a pistol, following the death of a two-year-old girl in the Auckland suburb of Mangere earlier this month, has appeared in the Manukau District Court via video link this morning.

The 26-year-old man, whose interim name suppression will continue until his next appearance on July 25, has been granted bail under strict conditions.

Judge Roberts told the man he will be able to attend the burial site of the girl, once he has liaised with police.

In his last court appearance the man broke down in tears in a courtroom packed with his family and friends.

Police told the court further charges are likely to be laid. 

Justice Source: 1 NEWS