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Abductors release six hostages in Nigeria

An unidentified group of armed men had kidnapped the men from a nightclub at Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2006 11:54 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Six foreigners kidnapped in a nightclub raid in Nigeria's southern oil region have been released, a government official said.

The men, including one American, were set freeon Wednesdayevening in the delta region, said Magnus Abe, spokesman for Rivers state government.

Abe said he did not have information on who kidnapped the men.

An unidentified group of armed men snatched the six 10 days ago from nightclub in the centre Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt.

The kidnappers arrived shooting into the air and sent scores of people rushing for cover. Officials said no one was injured in the incident.

Along with the American, the hostage group included two Britons, one Polish man, an Irishman and a Frenchman.

They work for a range of oil and construction companies.

"I appreciate everything everybody's done for us. We're having champagne," Royce Parfait, of Tennessee, said by phone.

Hostage-takings have become nearly commonplace in Nigeria - Africa's largest crude producer and a major US supplier - where tensions between multinational oil firms and poor local communities have also sparked attacks on oil installations.

The hostages are usually taken by groups seeking political concessions or payouts and are rarely harmed.

Sixteen kidnappings in the past two weeks led President Olusegun Obasanjo to declare a clampdown last week.

The government arrested 160 people in the two-day crackdown, though most of those have since been released.

First Published: Aug 24, 2006 11:54 IST