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The Times: Oil rebels release six hostages

Warri: Nigerian separatist guerrillas released six of their nine foreign hostages last night but gave warning that they would step up attacks to shut down the country’s oil industry.
The militants said that they would not hand over the remaining three captives, including John Hudspith, a British security expert, until two ethnic Ijaw leaders are freed from jail and Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, compensates polluted villages. James Ibori, the Delta State governor, welcomed the freed men — Macon Hawkins, an American, Bardese Mohammed and Aly Shady, from Egypt, Tony Santos from the Philippines and Muado Somsak and Arak Suwana from Thailand — to his lodge in the city of Warri.
Mr Hawkins was released on his 69th birthday, after 13 days in the Niger Delta swamps. He suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure. “We are very pleased that six of the hostages have been released. I want to thank everyone that has assisted in this effort. I want to thank the captors for deeming it fit to release six out of the nine,” Mr Ibori said.
“But I want to appeal to them to release the others. I want to tell them that there is no political gain for holding on to the remaining three for more days any longer.” (AFP)

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