Niger Delta militants kidnap two French sailors

Other News Materials 3 August 2008 20:25 (UTC +04:00)

Niger Delta militants have been abducted two French sailors at Onne, a seaport settlement some 20 kilometres from Port Harcourt, an army spokesman said Sunday, dpa reported.

Army Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, spokesman for troops deployed in the oil-rich region to provide security, said that an unknown number of gunmen entered Onne in speedboats and headed to a popular bar pretending to be there for drinks on Saturday evening.

He said that at about 9:30 pm, they began to shoot sporadically into the air to scare other revellers before they seized the sailors and took them away in their speedboats.

He added that troops sent to comb the area have yet to locate the whereabouts of the assailants and their victims.

The sailors were working aboard a vessel belonging to the indigenous Nigerian Addax Oil Company.

None of the militant groups in the Niger Delta has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Militants in the Niger Delta have seized close to 100 expatriate oil workers since 2006 to press for a greater say in the exploitation of the oil and gas resources in the highly impoverished region.

The Nigerian government has described the militants as common criminals and oil thieves interested in financial gain rather than the people of the Niger Delta.

The militants often release their victims after collecting a ransom from their employers and state governments.