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Facebook pal kidnaps vacationer

By CNN staff
November 7, 2013 -- Updated 0404 GMT (1204 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australian man met a Senegalese man on Facebook before traveling to Senegal
  • He was held captive for six weeks while his bank account was emptied by kidnappers, including the social media contact
  • Man feared for his life during ordeal

(CNN) -- Next time you chum up to a stranger on social media before traveling to their homeland, consider the ordeal of Australian Steve Sparks.

As reported by ABC, the Darwin resident says he was kidnapped and held for six weeks while vacationing in the African nation of Senegal. While being held against his will, Sparks' abductors emptied his bank account.

Sparks, who was released about two weeks ago, but who has only recently returned home, "says his mistake was meeting up with a man he had met on social media."

After meeting the social media contact, Sparks says he was kidnapped, forced to give up his bank account details and held in a bedroom for six weeks.

He says that he feared for his life during the experience.

"I kind of believe now that this particular man's Facebook [page] was manufactured," ABC quotes Sparks. "You just have got to be very, very careful."

Sparks added that he was told by Australian authorities that Senegalese police likely "knew about this racket and were probably on the take," and was advised not to expect justice being meted out in the case.

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