Fri Oct 21 11:11:33 SAST 2016

Kidnappings rise in Nigeria's oil-rich delta area

By unknown | May 21, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - Two Indian staffers of a petrochemical firm were kidnapped on Saturday by gunmen in the Nigerian oil heartland of Port Harcourt, police said yesterday.

Indian authorities have said the men's employer, Eleme Petrochemical Company, majority-owned by Indonesia's Indorama, had received a ransom demand from the hostage-takers.

The militants had initially taken 10 workers from the residence but soldiers engaged them in a gunfight and rescued the other eight. A Nigerian driver was killed in the crossfire.

Fourteen foreign workers are being held by militant groups in the Niger River Delta, where all of Nigeria's crude oil is produced. Some of the groups have made political demands, and others are ransom seekers whose activities have blurred the line between militancy and crime.

About 100 foreigners have been taken hostage in the delta this year but most of them have been freed after their employers paid ransoms.

Violence has surged in the area, cutting a third of Nigeria's oil output and forcing thousands of expatriates to evacuate the volatile region. - Reuters


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