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The Scotsman: British hostage is one of 7 seized in Nigeria

Mon 22 Oct 2007
A BRITISH man has been kidnapped in Nigeria, the Foreign Office confirmed yesterday.

A spokesman said it was aware of an incident but had no more details at present.

Reports from the west African state said gunmen in speedboats attacked an offshore oil field in the volatile Niger Delta.

Seven people – four Nigerians and three foreign workers, including the Briton – were kidnapped.

Olav Ljosne, a spokesman for Shell in Nigeria, said the men were taken after a three-hour gunfight at the EA field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell.

Mr Ljosne confirmed that the three foreigners were a Briton, a Croat and a Russian.

“The next step is to evacuate the staff and try to work on the release of the kidnapped people,” he added.

The EA field has been closed since February 2006, but it had been due to resume operations by the middle of next year.

Security sources said the attackers armed with assault rifles came in up to 30 boats, engaged troops in a three-hour gunfight and made away with the support vessel on which the hostages had been working. One person was injured.

Last night a member of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), a prominent militant group, claimed responsibility.

Around 100 foreign workers have been kidnapped since the beginning of the year.

Militant attacks and abductions since February 2006 have forced western companies to reduce Nigerian oil production by a fifth, contributing to a rise in global oil prices.

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