American woman kidnapped in Nigeria by masked gunmen who stormed her Christian school

An American woman working as a Christian missionary in central Nigeria was kidnapped Monday morning, the website of the Free Methodist Church and a security source revealed on Tuesday.

'Early this morning we received a report that Reverend Phyllis Sortor, our missionary in Nigeria, was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, Nigeria by several persons,' the church said.

According to a report by AFP, a group of masked gunmen raided Hope Academy, the school that Sorter and her church built in the village of Emiworo around 10am.

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The kidnappers 'came into the school premises shooting sporadically to scare away people before taking (the hostage) away into the bush', a Kogi state police spokesman said.
'We are hopeful of finding her. Our suspicion is that she was picked up for ransom,' the police spokesman added. 
Police say they are doing everything they can to  'get her back'. The State Department and FBI are also working to locate the American hostage. 
Sorter has been working as a missionary in Africa for the last decade, and friends say she has faced some resistance from local leaders for building Christian schools in the majority-Muslim northern portion of the country.
'She's had a lot of opposition,' friend Judy O'Brien, who attended Seattle Pacific University with Sorter, told KOMO.
However, the motives of the kidnapping are still unknown.
Monday night, Sorter's friends and family gathered at her church at Seattle Pacific University to pray for her safe return.
Her stepson Richard Sorter was in attendance and has called the whole experience 'surreal'.

'They're over there doing good for other people and this happens,' her worried stepson told reporters.
Nigeria is one of the world's worst country's for kidnapping, a major criminal enterprise that makes millions of dollars a year.
Criminal gangs have kidnapped scores of expatriates in southern and central Nigeria over the years. The central Kogi state has also had low level activity by Islamist militants linked to insurgent group Boko Haram, security sources say - though that group operates mainly in northeastern Nigeria. 
A U.S. State Department official said authorities had heard the reports but could not make further comments in the interest of privacy.

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