RealNews

Nigeria bids to free oil hostages

Nigerian authorities are negotiating with kidnappers for the release of seven foreign oil workers taken hostage in the Warri region on Thursday. It is reported that at least one of the captives has already been freed. The seven, who include two Colombians, a Briton, an Australian and a Russian, were testing an evacuation boat when they were captured. Their captors, ethnic Ijaw youths, are demanding tens of thousands of dollars in ransom. The kidnap is thought to have occurred as the men were testing the boat on the lake behind the plant. Australia’s junior foreign minister, Chris Gallus, said: I believe [they] were on a boat and there were shots, and the people who shot at them then asked them to come ashore and took them hostage.” The kidnappers initially demanded $330,000, the Nigerian Navy said, but subsequently reduced the demand to $33,000. A BBC correspondent in Lagos, Anna Borzello, says kidnappings in the area are common and are usually carried out by militants who believe they do not benefit from the country’s oil wealth. Last week, 18 Nigerian oil workers were kidnapped by heavily armed militants but were subsequently released. Full Story

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