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Agence France-Presse: More hostages grabbed in Nigeria

Fri, 04 Aug 2006

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer, was hit by the latest in a series of kidnappings on Friday as three Filipino oil and gas workers were taken hostage in the Niger Delta region, industry sources and police said.

A German was abducted on Thursday.

“The (three) men were abducted at Bonny Island in Rivers State, near the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas plant. They are our contractors and employees of Baker Overseas Technology Services,” NLNG spokesperson Igwebuike Mbanefo told AFP.

Whereabouts unknown

He said the whereabouts of the hostages were unknown, but that the firm was making the necessary contacts to secure their release.

He said the identities of the captors were also unknown as no group had claimed responsibility for the abduction, the latest to hit Africa’s biggest producer in recent months.

The police could not immediately confirm the incident, which took place a day after the German oil worker was abducted.

“We are trying to verify the incident,” Rivers State police spokesperson Barasua Ireju said.

The multi-billion-dollar NLNG which is co-owned by the state-run oil operator NNPC, Anglo-Dutch group Royal Dutch/Shell, Italy’s Agip and France’s Totalfina Elf, started operations in October 1999 at Bonny in southern Nigeria, producing 5.9 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Dangerous Delta

Niger Delta militants had earlier kidnapped the German oil worker along with his Nigerian driver in Port Harcourt.

Port Harcourt is at the heart of the oil-rich but restive Niger Delta region where several oil firms have their operational base.

“The German national was abducted by men dressed in military camouflage near Rainbow Town military barracks in Port Harcourt yesterday (Thursday),” Ireju told AFP.

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