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Daily Telegraph: Rebels in Nigeria take four Britons

By Mike Pflanz, Africa Correspondent
Last Updated: 4:09am BST 26/05/2007

Four British contractors were kidnapped in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region yesterday when militants attacked a boat ferrying workers laying pipes.

Five other foreigners – three Americans, a South African and a Filipino – and one of their Nigerian colleagues were also taken hostage during the raid, off the coast of Baylesa state.

Gunmen in two speedboats launched the early morning raid on the Nigerian-owned oil services company vessel, which had been loaned to a firm laying new oil pipes, reports from the country said.

The unidentified militants exchanged machinegun fire with the security guards, who were overpowered.

“The police are looking around the area for any evidence they can find,” said Kelvin Ebiri, a correspondent for Nigeria’s Guardian newspaper. “But it is a difficult place to reach and there were not many local people there to see anything.”

Oil production in Nigeria’s impoverished Delta region is already down by 700,000 barrels a day – roughly a fifth of the usual output – due to a surge in kidnappings.

British firms including Shell have said they are committed to continuing operations in the delta, but have withdrawn non-essential staff.

British officials in Lagos confirmed that they were investigating the reports of yesterday’s kidnappings but refused to comment further. There has been no word from those responsible.

A spokesman for the region’s main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, told The Daily Telegraph that his organisation was not involved.

“We know who did it but cannot reveal this,” Jomo Gbomo said in an email.

“I’m sure it was purely for financial gain.” and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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