Wind engineer escapes from Nigerian kidnappers

NIGERIA: A French engineer working on a 10MW project being built by Vergnet in northern Nigeria managed to escape at the weekend, nearly a year after being kidnapped by Islamic militants.

Francis Collomp has escaped his kidnappers
The group, Ansaru, which has links to Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, saying it was in protest against French military intervention in Mali and the ban on women wearing full veils in France.

The details of Francis Collomp's escape on Saturday remain hazy, although President François Hollande yesterday compared it to an "adventure story". According to one version, he fled during a military operation against the militants by the Nigerian army. The Nigerian police say he escaped when his captors were at prayer.

In early October, Vergnet said on its website that, after "extensive negotiations", it would hire local subcontractors to complete the Katsina wind farm, comprising 37 Vergnet 275kW turbines. It will be Nigeria's first industrial-scale facility.