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Pirates kill one, take foreign sailors hostage

Pirates attacked a German-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria's restive and oil-rich southern delta, killing one Ukranian crew member and taking 12 other foreign sailors hostage.

world Updated: Jul 04, 2010 10:48 IST

Pirates attacked a German-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria's restive and oil-rich southern delta, killing one Ukranian crew member and taking 12 other foreign sailors hostage.

The attack on the ship, BBC Palonia, took place near Bonny River in the Bonny Fairbouy, few nautical miles from Bonny jetty, police spokeswoman Rita Abbey said.

Attempts by the seamen to resist the pirates led to the death of one Ukrainian sailor on Friday night, she said.

"The crew is eastern European. One (Ukranian) has been confirmed shot dead while others (12) were taken hostage. Nigerian Navy has already been deployed from Bonny to investigate (the matter)," Abbey said.

Separately, Navy spokesman Commodore David Nabaida said that a Nigerian navy ship reached the scene and escorted the attacked ship to safe waters from where an injured person was taken to a nearby hospital for medical care.

Nabaida gave the nationality of the sailors as Latvian, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian and German and said that the Nigerian navy was working hard to track down the pirates.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pirates' activities off the coast of oil-rich Niger Delta has increased in last few years.

An amnesty programme by the West African country's government in which the militants could exchange their arms for some monetary compensation was delayed due to the ill health of former President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who died in May.

The former militants took to the streets last month to demonstrate their perceived neglect by the government.

Yar'Adua's successor President Goodluck Jonathan promised to carry on with the amnesty and recently brought in some foreigners to train the foreign militants to become useful members of the society.