Oil rig attack: 7 foreigners held

2010-11-09 12:37

Lagos - Seven foreign hostages were taken in an attack on an oil rig and support vessel off Nigeria, a company source said on Tuesday, saying two Indonesian victims had now been confirmed.

"We can confirm this morning that there are seven hostages," the source with the company that oversees the rig, Afren, said. "The nationality of the additional two are Indonesian."

"As far as we know, seven is the total," he added.

The other five victims included two Americans, two French and one Canadian, the source had previously said.

Gunmen carried out the attack before dawn on Monday in the country's turbulent Niger Delta region, the heart of the one of the world's largest oil industries. Two people were wounded in addition to those taken hostage.

Afren provided few details on the attack itself. The company source said the hostages were taken in the two incidents - the assault on the rig and the support vessel.

It was not immediately clear whether a ransom demand had been made, though that is usually the case with kidnappings in the Niger Delta.

The source said the two wounded in the attack were stable and receiving medical treatment. He said the company had earlier indicated five victims were taken hostage because the other two had not been confirmed.

The attack occurred at the Okoro field, some 12km off the coast off Akwa Ibom state. Afren is headquartered in Britain and works with a local partner, AMNI International, while the rig is owned by Transocean.

Criminal gangs seeking ransom payments as well as militants claiming to be fighting for a fairer distribution of oil revenue have in recent years abducted scores of foreigners and family members of wealthy Nigerians.