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Hostages freed by Nigerian military

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-18

The Nigerian military has freed 19 hostages being held by militants in the Niger Delta. Two French nationals were released along with other foreigners and a number of Nigerian workers.

REUTERS - Nigeria's military freed 19 hostages including foreigners being held by militants in the Niger Delta oil region in a land, air and sea operation on Wednesday, security sources said.

The freed hostages included two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians and a Canadian kidnapped this month from an Afren oil rig, eight Nigerian staff abducted from an Exxon Mobil platform on Sunday and four others, two security sources involved in the operation said.
"It was a land, air and marine assault. They have all been freed, all 19 of them," one of the sources told Reuters, asking not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the operation.
The military task force responsible for security in the vast wetlands region, the heartland of Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, said earlier it was carrying out several operations simultaneously across the Niger Delta but gave no details.
A military spokesman declined to elaborate on the operation or comment on whether the hostages had been freed, saying a statement would be issued on Thursday.
A second security source involved in planning the operation said former militant leaders who accepted an amnesty brokered last year by President Goodluck Jonathan had been instrumental in securing the safe release of the kidnapped oil workers.
"There was a strong element of cooperation between the former militant leadership and the security forces in the release of the 19 hostages," the security source said.
"What happened today in Nigeria has never happened before. It shows the strength not only of the security forces but of the former militant leadership and the amnesty programme," the source said, also asking not to be named.



Date created : 2010-11-17


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