Police said that no ransom was paid and the two Germans were freed after being kidnapped in Kaduna state. Now DW has exclusive information on arrests.
Nigeria's Defense Secretary Mansur Dan Ali told DW on Thursday that the suspected kidnappers had been arrested.
"They have been detained. The police chief mentioned that when he was briefing us on improved security in southern Kaduna State," he said.
The identity of the suspects has not been disclosed.
The two Germans had been abducted on Wednesday during excavation work at Jenjela village in Kaduna state. Two villagers who attempted to help the Germans were shot and killed by the kidnappers.
No ransom was paid when they were freed late on Saturday, a police official said, without giving details. The gunmen had demanded a ransom of 60 million naira (about $200,000 or 190,000 euros).
"The two archaeologists from the Goethe University in Frankfurt are free. They are in the care of the German embassy in Abuja," said an unnamed source at the Foreign Ministry. "They are doing well under the circumstances," the source added, without providing further details.
The governor of Kaduna, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, applauded Nigeria's security forces on Sunday for securing the hostages' release. There were no details as to whether anyone had been arrested.
The men were kidnapped along a road running from Abuja to Kaduna, which will soon serve as a temporary entry point for visitors to the capital, Abuja. The main airport in Abuja will be closed for repairs for six weeks beginning in early March.
During that time, those travelling to the capital via air will have to land in Kaduna and then make the 100 mile (160 km) journey to Abuja by bus.
Soldiers stand guard at the residence of the freed German archeologists, Professor Peter Breunig and Johannes Behringer
Kidnappings for ransom are not uncommon in Nigeria, and several have occurred along this stretch of road in recent years. One victim, last summer, was Sierra Leone's deputy high commissioner.
Most international airlines have said they will not fly into Kaduna, and some embassies in the capital are trying to limit staff travel while the airport is being repaired.
The researchers were in the region investigating relics of an early Iron Age population known as the Nok.
bik/rg (Reuters, dpa, AP, AFP)