DAKAR, Senegal — An American missionary was kidnapped on Monday from a school in central Nigeria in an area prone to kidnappings for ransom, officials said Tuesday.
The missionary was identified as the Rev. Phyllis Sortor on the website of the Free Methodist Church. A Washington State television station, KING, said Ms. Sortor was from western Washington. In a statement on its website, the church said she had been kidnapped from the compound of Hope Academy outside Emiworo in Kogi State.
Nigerian officials said the kidnapping was probably not the work of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The police commissioner of Kogi State, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, said a ransom of around $300,000 had been demanded by Tuesday afternoon, barely 24 hours after the kidnapping, which is not typical for Boko Haram.
In addition, the area where the kidnapping occurred — south of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital — is not generally considered to be within Boko Haram’s sphere of influence. Commissioner Ogunjemilusi said the Islamists were not active in Kogi. Still, kidnappings do occur there with some regularity. This month, a top local official in Kogi State was abducted from his home by gunmen who used the same method, scaling a wall, that was used in the kidnapping of Ms. Sortor.