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Houston Chronicle: Militants demand guarantee

Bloomberg News
Nigerian militants who have been holding nine foreign oil workers for the past 11 days want a guarantee there will be no military reprisal against them before they release the hostages, Delta state Gov. James Ibori said Tuesday.
“We have words from them that they will not attack any installation and they will not do anything unless they are provoked,” said Ibori, who is leading government efforts to gain the hostages' release.
The same group kidnapped four hostages in January, releasing them 19 days later. Ibori said February's attacks were a direct result of the Nigerian military breaking its pledge to not attack in return for the release of the men kidnapped in January.
The current hostages, employees of Willbros Group, were taken from a boat under contract to Shell near its Forcados export terminal. Among those kidnapped are three U.S. citizens, one from Great Britain, two from Egypt, two from Thailand and one from the Philippines, Willbros said in a Feb. 18 statement. Willbros operations are run out of Houston. One of the hostages is a Texan, Macon Hawkins of Kosciusko.

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