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BBC News: Nigerian gunmen seize Pakistani

Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK 

Unknown gunmen in speedboats have kidnapped a Pakistani construction worker in Nigeria’s oil region.

Seven men dressed in red seized the man, named as Tahri, in Bodo city in Ogoniland, security sources say.

The man works for Italian firm Gitto. Such kidnappings are common in the region and most hostages are released unharmed after a ransom is paid.

More than 150 foreigners – mostly oil workers – and many Nigerians have been kidnapped in the region this year.

The Nigerian authorities and the oil companies concerned always deny paying any ransom.

Despite being Africa’s top oil producer and the sixth largest exporter crude to the US, the Niger Delta remains heavily impoverished.

Attacks on oil installations have cut Nigeria’s daily oil production by about 25%, helping to drive up world oil prices.

Militants say that local people should benefit more from the region’s oil wealth but many kidnappings are carried out by criminal gangs.

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