Nigeria’s Mend frees 19 hostages

2010-11-18 11:05

kalahari.com

  • Nigeria
    How Ethnic Rivalry and Religious Fundamentalism Threatens Africa's Most Populous Nation Was R342.95 Now R308.66
    buy now
Lagos - Nigeria's military on Wednesday freed 19 hostages in an operation in the country's main oil-producing region, including Nigerians and foreigners, two security sources said.

"We've got confirmed reports that, yes, all 19 have been reported freed," one of the security sources said.

"It was a JTF operation," he added, referring to Nigeria's Joint Task Force, which includes police and military personnel.

Another security source also said they had been released. Those released included two French, two Americans, two Indonesians, a Canadian and Nigerians, the sources said.

The victims were all taken hostage in recent raids on facilities in the country's Niger Delta region, the heart of one of the world's largest oil industries.

France's foreign minister had earlier confirmed that the two French nationals were freed.

"Michele Alliot-Marie is pleased with the release of the two Frenchmen who had been taken hostage, along with five other people, on an oil platform in Nigeria overnight November 7-8," a statement said.

Canada's Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon also welcomed the news on Wednesday.

Safe and peaceful resolution

"We would like to thank everyone who worked to ensure a safe and peaceful resolution to this incident," Cannon said.

Nigeria's main militant group Mend had claimed responsibility for kidnapping 14 of the hostages. Those released were believed taken in three separate incidents.

A spokesperson for a joint military and police force in the Niger Delta declined to provide details, saying only that an operation had been underway and a briefing would be held on Thursday.

The military had at the weekend warned of action in the Niger Delta and urged residents living near militant camps to clear out.

Eight of the hostages were believed taken in an attack this week on an ExxonMobil facility, while seven others were kidnapped last week in a raid on a support vessel and Transocean oil rig overseen by Afren.

The remaining four were believed to be employees for Julius Berger taken in another incident, the sources said.

Scores of attacks

There was no immediate indication of whether ransoms were paid for any of the hostages.

Last week, three French workers for maritime services firm Bourbon seized from an oil industry supply vessel in September were also freed.

They were kidnapped when armed pirates in several speedboats attacked their 2 000-tonne vessel off Nigeria.

Mend - the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta - has claimed scores of attacks in the Niger Delta.

In a statement on Tuesday, it warned of a "major operation" and claimed one of its camps had come under military fire on Monday.

Nigerian authorities had at the time confirmed operations were underway to hunt down kidnappers, but provided few details.

Desired level of security

Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Antigha had said the operation would continue "until the desired level of security and peace is achieved in the Niger Delta and the region is rid of criminal and illegal actions by the so-called militants".

Unrest in the Niger Delta, before the government offered an amnesty deal to militants last year, had slashed production in one of the world's largest oil exporters.

The amnesty was credited with greatly reducing unrest in the region and oil production has rebounded to an estimated 2.2 million barrels per day, but there has been a new round of attacks in recent months.

Many observers say the amnesty has failed to address underlying issues of poverty and unemployment in the Niger Delta. Militant leaders given stipends in exchange for turning in their weapons would eventually be replaced by others, they warned.

Mend, which claims to be fighting for a fairer distribution of oil revenue, has also been seen as an umbrella organisation for criminal gangs. It is believed to have splintered, particularly over the amnesty.

The recent attacks come ahead of elections set for early next year. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running in the elections, is from the Niger Delta and faces pressure to resolve the situation in the region.

Read more on:    mend  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  abductions
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off all TV Series!

Want to have a chilled day at home? Get 20% off TV series, the perfect excuse to "veg out". Shop now!

Save R700 on the Hisense LED TV Now R2499

Get the Hisense 32” HD ready LED TV for only R2499. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to combine imagination, information and creativity together. Try not to over rationalise things and rather...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.