Two Russians abducted in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta in December have been rescued after escaping from their captors, the Nigerian military has said.
The Russians “escaped from an unidentified militant camp” and had been wandering in the creeks for five days before a military patrol team rescued them, military spokesman Sagir Musa said yesterday.
Identified by the military as Sergey Zermotalov and Korstantin Aksemon, the pair worked for an aluminium smelting firm in Ikot Abasi town in southern Akwa Ibom state.
Over the last few months, militant attacks mainly concentrated on the Niger Delta’s Rivers and Bayelsa states have gradually spread to other nearby states such as Akwa Ibom, closer to the southern border with Cameroon.
For the past three years, armed groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta have staged a wave of attacks and kidnappings against oil industry and government targets in southern Nigeria.
The militants, the most prominent group being the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), have demanded a greater share for impoverished locals in the region’s oil wealth.