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Associated Press: 6 oil workers kidnapped in Nigeria

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY — Associated Press Writer
Published: Friday, October 26, 2007

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) Gunmen in speedboats attacked an oil vessel off the coast of Nigeria at dawn Friday and kidnapped six workers, Italian energy giant Eni SpA said.

The Polish, Filipino and Nigerian workers were taken off the FPSO Mystras, Eni said on its Web site. One Nigerian was reported to have been wounded in the leg, the statement said. A spokeswoman refused further comment.

The Mystras, used for production, storage and offloading crude oil, is capable of producing 80,000 barrels of oil per day.

The Niger Delta has been the scene of violence, with militants kidnapping about 100 foreign workers this year to press their demands for local control of oil revenues.

Locals have for years demanded a greater share of the wealth in Africa’s largest crude producer, and the region remains desperately poor despite its great natural bounty.

The government of President Umaru Yar’Adua has stepped up efforts to maintain calm, and violence has waned since he took power May 29. But the latest attacks could set back plans for formal talks between the government and the main armed groups.

On Monday, seven oil workers who were kidnapped from an offshore oil field operated by Royal Dutch Shell were released after two days in captivity.

A main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, claimed responsibility for seizing the workers, who were Nigerian, British, Croatian and South African.

The group, which threatened last month to resume attacks after one of its leaders was arrested in Angola, also vowed to continue the violence.

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/world/story/3727282p-13182903c.html

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