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AFX Europe (Focus): Hostage oil workers released in Nigeria – official UPDATE

LAGOS (AFX) – Four foreign oil workers who had been held hostage by Nigerian separatist militants for 19 days have been released by their captors, a state government spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
“They've been released. They're with the governor right now. They're very OK,” said Bayelsa State spokesman Ekiyor Welson, speaking by telephone from the state capital Yenagoa.
A British diplomat and an official of the energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said that they are checking the report.
On January 11 a heavily armed ethnic Ijaw militia riding speed boats boarded the oil industry supply vessel Liberty Service off the coast of Bayelsa and captured four crew members.
The boat's American skipper Patrick Landry, British security expert Nigel Watson Clark and engineers Milko Nichev of Bulgaria and Harry Ebanks of Honduras have since been held in Ijaw areas of the Niger Delta.
Statements from the hostage-takers demanded that the Nigerian government release two prominent Ijaw leaders from jail and that Shell pay 1.5 bln usd in compensation to villages polluted by oil spills.
There was no initial information on what kind of a deal, if any, had been struck with the kidnappers to secure the shipmates' release.
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