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Oil and government workers freed in Nigeria: police

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Two Shell oil and four government emergency workers kidnapped in Nigeria’s restive oil-rich south in two separate attacks last week have been freed, police said Wednesday.

The Royal Dutch Shell oil workers, whose nationalities were not released, were abducted on Thursday in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state, the latest in a long line of attacks in a region where kidnapping for ransom is rife.

In that attack, gunmen ambushed their convoy by opening fire at the guards to stop the vehicles, killing two policemen.

The Shell workers were freed six days later on Tuesday, said Rivers State police spokesperson, Nnamdi Omoni.

“The two oil workers who were abducted by a gang of hoodlums last week have both been rescued from their abductors,” Nnamdi said Wednesday.

Their rescue was “facilitated by the gallant efforts” of the police tactical team, Nnamdi said but gave no further details.

In a separate case, four government workers from Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), three men and a woman, were also freed, NEMA regional chief Walson Brandon said.

“They have been released and we are now in the hospital with them for medical attention,” Brandon said.

They were freed on Wednesday, a week after being abducted. A fifth NEMA staff member was shot in the leg during the attack, as he ran to successfully evade capture.

Nnamdi, the police spokesman, said they were released with the aid of the police but that no arrests were made. He did not comment on security source reports that a ransom was also paid to free them.

Several hostages continue to be held by kidnappers.

Three oil workers — a Briton, a Canadian and a Nigerian — kidnapped from their oil rig on Saturday, are still missing.

In that attack, half a dozen gunmen stormed the rig on Saturday in the Ogbele area of Rivers state, grabbing the three men and then heading off into the thick forest and swamps around.


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