Sailors seized off Nigeria in 'good health'

2012-03-02 13:50
Lagos - Three sailors abducted when their cargo ship was attacked by pirates off the Nigerian coast this week are "in good health", an armed militant group said on Friday.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) said in a statement that the kidnappers had offered to hand over the hostages to the group and that it was likely to take them in.

It identified the three captured as the ship's captain and its chief engineer, both Russians, and a Filipino crew member.

Pirates opened fire on the Dutch-owned cargo ship off the Nigerian coast on Tuesday, in what the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said was the latest in a series of incidents indicating heightened piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The IMB said the assault targeted a Dutch-owned, Curacao-flagged refrigerated cargo ship that was anchored near the coast.

"The kidnappers have offered to hand these sailors - who are all in good health - over to one of our camps in Rivers State," said Mend.

Mend, which has been fighting for a fairer distribution of oil revenue in Nigeria, said it was considering receiving the captives because "these men were not captured from a vessel related to the Nigerian oil industry".

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