Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

Africa

Nigerian military complete safe handover of 19 freed hostages

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-18

The Nigerian military handed over 19 oil-rig workers on Thursday, following recent raids by guerrilla organisations in the country's Niger Delta. The Delta region is at the heart of one of the world's largest oil industries.

AFP - Nigeria's military freed 19 hostages in the country's main oil region, including American, French, Indonesian and Canadian nationals, with no ransom paid, an official said Thursday.

The hostages freed in the operation were presented to journalists on Thursday, some still in their work suits, with the military saying they had been rescued from a militant camp. They appeared in good health.
  
"These gentlemen were recovered from Obese Camp in Rivers state," said Major General Charles Omoregie. "Not a dime was paid for the release of these gentlemen. It was a sustained raid. We don't go into negotiations."
  
He said there had been no casualties in the operation.
  
The rescue Wednesday came after a series of kidnappings in the turbulent Niger Delta, the heart of one of the world's largest oil industries, and after the military threatened action to clear out militant camps.
  
Recent attacks had signalled a new round of abductions in the region after an amnesty programme offered last year was credited with greatly reducing unrest there.
  
Security sources had earlier confirmed the 19 hostages had been freed. Those released included two French, two Americans, two Indonesians, a Canadian and Nigerians, security sources said.
  
The victims were all taken hostage in recent raids on facilities in the country's Niger Delta.
  
France's foreign minister had earlier confirmed that the two French nationals were freed. Canada's Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon welcomed the news.
  
Nigeria's main militant group MEND had claimed responsibility for kidnapping 14 of the hostages. Those released were believed taken in three separate incidents.
  
The military had at the weekend warned of action in the Niger Delta and urged residents living near militant camps to clear out.
  
Eight of the hostages were believed taken in an attack this week on an ExxonMobil facility, while seven others were kidnapped last week in a raid on a support vessel and Transocean oil rig overseen by Afren.
  
The remaining four were believed to be employees for Julius Berger taken in another incident, the sources said.
  
Last week, three French workers for maritime services firm Bourbon seized from an oil industry supply vessel in September were also freed.
  
They were kidnapped when armed pirates in speedboats attacked their 2,000-tonne vessel off Nigeria.
  
MEND - the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta - has claimed scores of attacks in the Niger Delta.
  
In a statement on Tuesday, it warned of a "major operation" and claimed one of its camps had come under military fire on Monday.
  
Nigerian authorities had at the time confirmed operations were underway to hunt down kidnappers, but provided few details.
  
Unrest in the Niger Delta before the government offered an amnesty deal to militants last year had slashed production in one of the world's largest oil exporters.
  
The amnesty was credited with greatly reducing unrest in the region and oil production has rebounded to an estimated 2.2 million barrels per day, but there has been a new round of attacks in recent months.
  
Many observers say the amnesty has failed to address underlying issues of poverty and unemployment in the Niger Delta. Militant leaders given stipends in exchange for turning in their weapons would eventually be replaced by others, they warned.
  
MEND, which claims to be fighting for a fairer distribution of oil revenue, has also been seen as an umbrella organisation for criminal gangs. It is believed to have splintered, particularly over the amnesty.
  
The recent attacks come ahead of elections set for early next year. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running in the elections, is from the Niger Delta and faces pressure to resolve the situation in the region.
 

Date created : 2010-11-18

  • NIGERIA

    Hostages freed by Nigerian military

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Nigerian rebels confirm seizure of seven Exxon Mobil staff

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    To publicise or not: Handling a hostage crisis

    Read more

COMMENT(S)