Separatists claim responsibility for kidnaps

ABUJA - The most high-profile separatist group in southern Nigeria yesterday claimed responsibility for last week's attack on an oil facility operated by Italy's ENI in southern Nigeria in which at least six foreigners were kidnapped.

ABUJA - The most high-profile separatist group in southern Nigeria yesterday claimed responsibility for last week's attack on an oil facility operated by Italy's ENI in southern Nigeria in which at least six foreigners were kidnapped.

"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is behind the attack and capture of the six expats," the group, better known as MEND, said in an e-mail.

"The attack is in pursuance of our objective: to engage the government in discussions focused on the control of resources by the people of the Niger Delta region ..."

Gunmen attacked an offshore oil platform, the FPSO Mystras, on Friday and seized at least six or seven foreign workers. ENI said the gunmen seized six foreigners - Polish and Indian nationals - and injured one Nigerian worker.

Industrial and diplomatic sources said a seventh foreigner and a Nigerian worker were also seized.

Mend had previously observed a cease-fire which it said was aimed at giving President Umaru Yar'Adua time to implement a solution for the problems of the Niger Delta. - Sapa

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