Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 56° Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Nigerian militants release oil workers taken hostage

Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria – Militants in southern Nigeria released six oil workers taken hostage by a group demanding $20 million from Shell for local communities, a government official said on Saturday.

A group called the Iduwuni National Union for Peace and Development had claimed responsibility for kidnapping the two German and four Nigerian workers subcontracted to Shell, demanding the company pay the money as compensation for pollution and environmental degradation due to oil activities.

“They were released unconditionally,” said Preye Wariowei, a spokesman for the Nigerian state of Bayelsa, where the workers were seized by gunmen on Wednesday. He said the two Germans were now in the care of their direct employer, the German firm Bilfinger Berger.

Wariowei said the hostages were unharmed. In Berlin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed the release Saturday of the two Germans but would not provide further details.

Shell has said the Iduwuni were also dissatisfied with the company’s efforts to deliver promised jobs and amenities to nine communities bordering a key offshore oil field in Africa’s largest oil producer.

Shell has acknowledged it agreed to provide the communities with development assistance, but said finding the funding for the projects had caused delays.

Wariowei would not comment on whether authorities would try to bring the hostage-takers to justice.

Criminals frequently hit oil operations in the Niger delta by taking hostages and sabotage. Most captives are eventually released unharmed.

Nigeria exports some 2.5 million barrels of oil daily.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.