German sailors kidnapped in pirate attack off Nigeria
Two Germans are among a group of sailors who have been abducted from a ship off the coast of Nigeria by men who appeared to be pirates, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin said Sunday, dpa reported.
The sailors were reportedly taken during an attack Friday evening on two cargo vessels off the coast of Bonny, in Nigeria's oil-rich Rivers State, Nigeria's Guardian newspaper reported on its website. It said 12 sailors in all were taken hostage.
The identity of the gunmen, thought to be pirates, was unknown. Westerners have repeatedly been kidnapped and held to ransom in the Delta region in eastern Nigeria.
The Bonny state police command identified one of the attacked ships as the BBC Palonia with an "Eastern European" crew.
The police said one sailor was confirmed to have been shot dead in the attack.
Where the hostages were taken to was unknown.
It said the Nigerian Navy had begun an investigation and its focus was "to ensure speedy release of the hostages."
Germany's foreign ministry has set up a crisis-response team in Berlin.
"We are making urgent efforts, together with the Nigerian authorities, to get these two Germans free," a spokeswoman said.