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MEND release list of seized oil workers

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The Nigerian main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), on Friday released the nationalities of the seven hostages it abducted during a recent attack on an offshore oil rig in southeast Akwa Ibom State.

The group spokesperson Jomo Gbomo disclosed this in a statement reaching here, saying 2 Americans, 2 French, 1 Canadian and 2 Indonesia are in their custody.

London-Based oil exploration firm Afren said on Monday that Nigerian gunmen had attacked its offshore oil rig and abducted its crew members.

The company also said two others were injured in the attack which occurred on Sunday.

On Sunday, fighters of MEND attacked the Shallow-water okoro oilfield in Akwa Ibom state of the Niger Delta.

The militant group said in the course of the same attack, the under listed were captured: James Robertson (the United States), Jeffrey James (the United States), Patrick Weber (France), Mignon Gilles (France), Robert Croke (Canada), Robert Tampubolon (Indonesia) and Permana Nugraha (Indonesia).

"As earlier reported, we took custody of 3 French nationals and 1 Thai national abducted about 2 months ago by a militia group in the Niger Delta. Owing to their generally poor state of health, we were compelled to release them on humanitarian grounds," the group said.

"The abduction of the 7 expatriates from the Shallow-water okoro oilfield in Akwa Ibom state was to prevent the Nigerian government from denying the attack on this facility," it added.

"The 7 individuals are all in good health and will be in our custody for a while," it said.

The group has been known for carrying out attacks on international oil companies in the Niger Delta, engaging in actions including sabotage, theft, property destruction, guerilla warfare and kidnapping.

In the statement sent to reporters on Monday, the group warned that its fighters will launch a series of attacks on oil installations across the Niger delta in the coming days.

Abduction is common in Nigeria. Over 300 foreigners have been seized in the Niger Delta since 2006. Almost all have been released unharmed after a ransom is paid.


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