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Shell employee kidnapped, rescued in Nigeria

17/11/2008 08:56 

Unidentified gunmen in southern Nigeria held hostage a local employee of Royal Dutch Shell for several hours at the weekend before he was rescued, army and police sources said Monday.

Fidelis Akpoghira was seized whilst visiting relatives Sunday in a district of Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil hub, a local military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Musa Sagir told AFP.

Sagir said the gunmen were militants and had demanded seven million naira (59,000 dollars/46,000 euros) for the release of Akpoghira before driving away with him.

Rivers State police spokesman Rita Abbey said the Shell employee was freed Sunday night by police officers who tracked the kidnappers.

Since January 2006, militant attacks have cut Nigeria’s oil output by more than one quarter. Nigeria’s total production currently stands at around two million barrels a day against 2.6 million barrels in 2006.

Nigeria was Africa’s largest oil producer before it was overtaken in April by Angola, according to OPEC figures.

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