Nigeria secures release of 19 hostagesBy DPA, IANS
Thursday, November 18, 2010
NAIROBI/ABUJA - Nigeria’s military has secured the release of 19 hostages being held by militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta, officials close to the operation said.
The officials said two Frenchmen, two Americans, two Indonesians and a Canadian were freed along with 12 Nigerians.
Full details should emerge later Thursday, when the military is expected to make an official statement.
The hostages had been taken in various militant attacks on oil platforms and support ships over the course of the year.
The foreign ministers of Canada and France confirmed the releases of their citizens, who were taken along with the other foreigners from an oil rig Nov 7.
Militant group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for the kidnappings of most of those rescued.
The group had slashed Nigeria’s oil output through a campaign of sabotage since 2006, but late last year a government amnesty saw many militants lay down their arms and allowed output to rise again.
However, this year a faction of MEND has re-activated.
The group killed at least a dozen people during Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebrations in October when they detonated twin car bombs at a parade in Abuja.