Kidnapped Sierra Leone deputy high commissioner has been released

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 July 2016

Claude Nelson Williams

The Sierra Leone Telegraph has been reliably informed by government sources in Freetown that, the kidnapped deputy high commissioner to Nigeria – Alfred Claude Nelson-Williams has today been released.

It is not clear whether any ransom was paid. But it is understood that the kidnappers were demanding $40 million for his release.

The former head of Sierra Leone army is said to be recouping well at the residence of the high commission in Abuja.

Earlier today, an investigator from Nigeria’s Department of State Security (DSS) confirmed: “We are in touch with the kidnappers. They made some demands and we are trying to see how we can meet it and secure his freedom.”

claude nelson williams is free - photo second from left

(Photo above: The happy looking retired head of Sierra Leone military – centre – Claude Nelson-Williams, at the Sierra Leone High Commission in Abuja, after his release today).

This is the statement published by State House in Freetown, following news of his release:

“Government is pleased to inform the general public that following the collaborative efforts made by the governments of the federal republic of Nigeria and Sierra Leone, it has been confirmed that Sierra Leone’s deputy high commissioner major-general (rtd) Alfred Claude Nelson- Williams who was kidnapped by unknown assailants on 1st July, 2016, is now safely back at the Sierra Leone high commission in Abuja, and is presently being debriefed by the competent security agencies on his ordeal.

“Government wishes to salute the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for its unrelenting support and close cooperation during this unfortunate episode.

“Government also wishes to commend the Nelson-Williams family and the public at large for their understanding during these trying times.”


  1. I hope the Retired major is resting after his ordeal. We await to hear in his own words about his experience in the hands of his kidnappers. Only he can tell us exactly what happened.

    I have a question though – looking at the photo taken after his release, what is wrong with his feet? Is it the harmattan or they just dusty? If dusty, could his feet not have been thoroughly washed before presenting him to the media for a photo op?

    If harmattan, Vaseline is available in Nigeria. Or was this done for the camera and to show us what a terrible time he had in captivity?

  2. Mr. Sorie Koroma aka “SIK,”

    Since you have decided to punt without answering my question, let me again ask why you said the following:

    “Perhaps the reason why he was removed by president Koroma from the army and demoted to the job of deputy high commissioner?”


    1. Any justification(s) of your question?

    2. Was the appointment of Rtd. Major General Nelson-Williams as Deputy High Commissioner to the Federal
    Republic of Nigeria a demotion, deposition or what?

    Please respond and let me know. Thank you very much.

  3. Mr Moustache. I dont know how much a major general is paid in Sierra Leone. And I am not sure why this is a relevant factor in this alleged kidnapping saga.

    But what I do know is that the retired major general should be held responsible for his own negligence. And for putting the life of other member of staff at serious risk.
    The president must also be held accountable for whatever decision that was taken to free the major general from his alleged hijackers. Was ransom paid and how much? Where did the money come from to pay the ransom?
    We the citizens of Sierra Leone must be told the truth so as to end the continuing speculation and suspicions.
    We live in a democracy and it is called accountability. Or dont we?

  4. July 7, 2016 at 11:41 pm
    Mr. Sorie Koroma,

    What is the pay or salary scale of a Major General, Brigadier, Deputy High Commissioner, etc. in Sierra Leone? Are there any benefits and allowances included?

    I am asking because you just said that:

    “Perhaps the reason why he was removed by president Koroma from the army and ‘demoted’ to the job of deputy high commissioner?”

  5. Bo do ya lef we. I dont trust this corrupt government. The government is broke. There is no foreign exchange in this country. Salaries are not being paid. No one will give anymore money to Koroma.

    What scheme did he come up with to raise cash?

    Fake the kidnap of one of his top security officials who can be trusted to keep his mouth shut. And then pick up the phone and call the IMF to lend you $37 million to help pay yourself the ransom. You then tell the kidnappee to walk home barefooted, looking tired and hungry to pose for the media camera.

    Well done president Koroma! Bravo my boy! So what are you going to spend that $37 million ransom money on sir? A new personal jet? A villa in Spain? Buy votes at the next elections in 2018?

    Please dont forget to pay the doctors and nurses with the change!!

  6. Mr Bah, you sound like a typical unintelligent salone man. Its people like you that are responsible for our country’s backwardness.

    Am I not entitled to freely express my opinion on this and any other issue, without you evoking the wrath of God on me?

    You are entitled to believe and say whatever you will, and so do I. So please learn to respect that. Don’t you know that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right?

    Rather than losing your head, why not try to educate us about how the high commissioner according to you, escaped from his kidnappers. You lying toad!! LoL

    How do you know he escaped so as to save Sierra Leone and Nigeria from paying the ransom? Please dont tell lies if you do not have evidence. Where you there when he escaped? Who told you he escaped?

    All I am saying is that, he ought to have known the risk before he embarked on that journey. And that is a fact. If he didn’t know, then he is a bigger fool than I thought. Perhaps the reason why he was removed by president Koroma from the army and demoted to the job of deputy high commissioner?

  7. Many thank you to God Almighty for this wonderful news. It is heart-rendering to read from a citizen of Sierra Leone like Sorie Koroma such a comment.

    Does this mean you never prayed for the release of your fellow national who escaped at the risk of his own life, saving our nation and that of Nigeria from losing such huge amount of money for his release?

  8. Sorie Koroma,

    There would have been some negative consequences and diplomatic repercussions had the retired Major General Nelson-Williams refused or failed traveling to Kaduna, with a couple of Sierra Leoneans passing out, on that august occasion. He had no option, but to go. Please think about that.

    Of course, life comes first!

    Thank God that all this hassle in the butt of President Ernest Koroma is over with. Amen.

  9. Moustache. I expected the retired major general to have been competent enough to assess the risk presented to him and his entourage when he chose to travel to Kaduna.

    • What if the deputy high commissioner was betrayed by one of his workers. This is common in Nigeria. You cannot run away from people who work with you every day.

  10. Sorie Koroma,

    You might be a graduate of NUC in the 1990’s. That aside, you wrote the following on July 3, 2016 at 9:29 am:

    “What has the ambassador done to anyone to deserve such ‘ill-treatment,’ other than his unfortunate decision to serve this corrupt and depraved president we have in this country.”

    What happened, SIK, that you should now turn around and accuse Rtd. Major General Alfred Claude Nelson Williams of recklessness?

    Is there any explanation for this?

  11. Did president Koroma use the $37 million loan received from the IMF last week to pay the ransom for the release of the deputy high commissioner?

    If so, the retired major is now the most expensive citizen in the country, and must pay back some of that money to the tax payer by working for the State pro-bono.

    He may not be able to fully repay the amount, but he should now be placed on a voluntary work contract for his recklessness. The man ought to have known better.

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