American missionary kidnapped in Nigeria, Rev. Phyllis Sortor, is freed

Phyllis Sortor
In this undated photo provided by Mike Henry, Seattle missionary Rev. Phyllis Sortor is seen standing at center with a delegation of area dignitaries in a town in Nigeria.

An American missionary who was kidnapped by armed men in Nigeria last month was released Friday, according to her church.

Rev. Phyllis Sortor, 71, a missionary with the Free Methodist Church in Seattle, was released into the care of church leaders early Friday night local time, according to a statement from the church.

Sortor was abducted at her school on Feb. 23 and her captors demanded almost $300,000 for her safe return, Nigerian police have said. The statement from the Free Methodist Church said they would not be disclosing what was done to secure her freedom.

Sortor's main ministry was working with children and establishing schools in Nigeria, according to the church. She had previously spent six years serving in Rwanda.

"Phyllis was aware there were risks associated with her ministry, but also knew there are very few places in the world without risks and dangers," the statement said, adding, "We are deeply grateful to all who prayed for Phyllis' safe return and praise God the family representative was able to secure her release.

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