Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

  • Israel announces four-hour truce after deadly strike on UN school

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • Scores trapped as landslide hits Indian village

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    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)