Exxon Mobil: Abducted workers rescued unharmed in Nigeria

21:46, November 18, 2010      

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Exxon Mobil on Thursday confirmed that eight workers recently abducted from its Oso offshore platform have been freed unharmed by government security agencies in Nigeria.

The workers were among the 19 hostages rescued by Nigerian troops operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta region on Wednesday.

The rescued hostages were kidnapped at different locations in the oil-rich region within two weeks.

"Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/MPN joint venture confirms that the eight personnel recently abducted from its Oso offshore platform have been freed unharmed by government security agencies," the company said in a statement reaching here.

"We expect that the eight people will be handed over to the company later on Thursday Nov. 18, 2010," it added.

"We would like to express our appreciation to the Federal Government, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State governments, as well as security agencies for their intervention and swift action during the incident," it said.

"Mobil Producing Nigeria restates its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of its people and property," the company added.

The Joint Task Force (JTF) had on Tuesday said in a statement that they are flushing out criminals in the region.

"You will recall that in the last few weeks, criminal gangs masquerading as militants have been engaging in all atrocities, like kidnapping, sea robbery and illegal boarding of oil production platforms," the statement said.

"The Joint Task Force is currently in an operation to rid the Niger Delta of these criminal elements in order for the region to experience the needed peace and security which are imperatives for sustainable development," it added.

"All law abiding indigenes of the communities hosting these criminals are advised to remain calm and promptly report suspicious characters to relevant military authorities," the statement quoted regional military spokesperson Timothy Antigha as saying.

Nigeria's main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Exxon Mobil Ibeno oil facility and the London-based oil exploration firm Afren offshore oil rig.

The militant group re-emphasized that it will launch a major operation that will simultaneously affect oil facilities across the Niger Delta in the coming weeks.

The group is known for a series of attacks on international oil companies in the Niger Delta, engaging in actions including sabotage, theft, property destruction, guerilla warfare and kidnapping.

The Niger Delta is an unstable area where inter-ethnic clashes are commonplace. Access to oil revenue is the trigger for the violence.

Over 300 foreigners have been seized in the Niger Delta since 2006. Almost all have been released unharmed after paying a ransom.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:赵晨雁)

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