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Nigeria Rescues Foreigners Kidnapped In Oil-Rich Delta

Nigeria’s Navy has rescued three foreigners kidnapped in the oil-rich Niger Delta last week, the Navy said on Wednesday.

A Nigerian Navy team rescued the two Russians and one Indian late on Tuesday in an operation in the southwestern state of Ondo, Navy spokesperson Suleman Dahun told AFP on Wednesday.

In separate operations, the Nigerian Navy has also killed several pirates and is searching to apprehend others, security sources told AFP.

The three foreigners were abducted on Thursday last week in a pirate attack on an oil dredging ship that resulted in the killing of four operatives of the Nigerian Navy and the kidnapping of the three foreign sailors. The armed suspected pirates attacked the oil dredging ship MV Ambika in the waterways of the Niger Delta.

Attacks and kidnappings are nothing new in the oil-rich Niger Delta which, despite its oil wealth, hasn’t been good to its local people who have not seen oil revenues transform their lives.

The coasts off Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea in general are prime targets for piracy in West Africa. Over the past year, piracy off the coasts in West Africa has seen a shift from oil piracy to kidnapping people. India, the most prolific source of maritime sailors in the region, has banned all Indian seafarers from working on vessels in Nigerian waters and in the Gulf of Guinea.  

In one recent incident before the kidnapping from last week, a gang of pirates kidnapped in early December 19 sailors after waylaying and boarding a supertanker loaded with oil. Hong Kong-flagged crude supertanker the Nave Constellation, owned by Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation, was boarded on December 3 while the ship was traveling through Nigerian waters. The attack occurred roughly 60-70 nautical miles south of Nigeria’s Bonny Island Offshore Terminal, where the ship was stocked with cargo.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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