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Gunmen kidnap 4 foreign oil workers in Nigeria

The abduction occurred overnight at the oil-services firm and the abducted include a Dutch, a British and a Pakistani citizen.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2007 17:34 IST

A group of gunmen wearing security force uniforms invaded a compound in southern Nigeria and kidnapped four foreign oil workers without firing a shot, police said on Saturday.

The abduction occurred overnight at the oil-services firm Schlumberger Ltd In Port Harcourt and the kidnapped included one Dutch, one British and one Pakistani citizen, Rivers State Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu said.

The nationality of the fourth was not immediately available. The British Embassy in Nigeria had no information on a missing Briton, and the company and other embassies were not immediately reachable for comment.

The gunmen wore uniforms that resembled those of one of Nigeria's two police forces, and they were able to enter the compound and leave again without firing a shot, said Ogbaudu, speaking by telephone.

He noted that both uniforms, black for regular officers and green for elite mobile police known by the abbreviation Mopol, are simple in appearance and easily duplicated. The gunmen could not be presumed to be security forces, he said.

"Remember, it was dark, and any black uniform will be seen as a police uniform and green will be Mopol," he said.

More than two dozen foreigners are in captivity in the Niger Delta region where all of the crude in Africa's biggest producer is pumped. Over 200 people have been abducted since militants increased their bombing and kidnapping activities in the region in late 2005, slashing crude output by about one quarter.

Only one arrest connected with the spate of kidnappings is known to have been made in the region.

First Published: Jun 02, 2007 17:27 IST

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