Militants mounts kidnapping in southern Nigeria

Updated: 2007-05-04 21:19
Large Medium Small
Militants in southern Nigeria have mounted their abduction of foreign oil workers as reports on such cases were so frequently released in the past few days.

Local and foreign news media produced confused figures about the number of the kidnapped people in southern Nigerian Rivers and Bayelsa states. Some of the reports said there were at least 16 foreign oil workers and some were cited as 21 being kidnapped between Wednesday night and Thursday morning in the Niger Delta region.

It was reported that the 12 workers kidnapped from a construction site and a Dutchman taken from a bar in Warri, Delta state, are still being held.

The Dutch kidnapped in Warri was identified as Peter Vankamppen. Delta State Commissioner of Police Hezekiah Dimka confirmed the kidnapping.

In Rivers state, militant youths killed one soldier and took 11 foreign oil workers as hostage. In Bayelsa, another band of militants abducted five people but set free five others.

The five fresh hostages, who are among the staff of the Nigeria Agip Oil company, were seized 40 nautical miles (74 km) off the coast of Bayelsa state and abducted at an offshore vessel.

According to the Guardian report, a power station was attacked in Afam, Oyigbo Local Council of Rivers State late on Wednesday. The oil facility is being developed by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria to increase power supply and reduce gas flaring in the country.

One Nigerian soldier was killed and 11 foreign oil workers were kidnapped.

The motive of the kidnappers was not immediately known but the spokesman of the Okoloma youth community in Afam, Stanleyson Akaya, said the kidnapping had been planned long ago, stressing that the militants had written to the company before about their planned attack.

The coordinator of the Bayelsa Volunteer Force, a state-owned security outfit who confirmed the report, lamented the alarming spate of hostages.

Many Nigerians said they are becoming numb at the reports of abduction news in Nigeria.

Local and foreign media quoted the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta as saying that it was stepping up attacks in anger at the recent polls held in Nigeria.

More than 80 foreigners have been abducted in the southern Nigeria since the beginning of this year.

Nigeria's oil output has dropped as foreigners are frequently kidnapped and over 25 percent of the country's crude production were shut due to the activities of militants since December 2005.