Nigeria kidnappers release Australian

An Australian oil worker held hostage for three days in Nigeria was released on Sunday amid hopes that six others would be liberated soon, authorities said.

    The national army is trying to quell ethnic violence in Warri

    The seven men, working for Canadian pipeline company ShawCor Ltd, were snatched in the oil-rich southern delta region by armed men demanding ransoms.

    "Today the Australian has been released," a foreign ministry spokeswoman told the Australian Broadcasting Corp radio, adding that he was the only one freed so far.

    "He was released and walked back to where his employment camp was down the river. He arrived tired but in very good spirits and uninjured," she said.

    Diplomatic sources in Nigeria said they were hopeful that others, including a Briton, Colombians and Russians, would be released soon.

    Ransom demand

    The Australian spokeswoman said she did not know whether a ransom had been paid for the Australian's release, but sources in Nigeria familiar with the negotiations said a ransom of an estimated $72,000 had been demanded by the kidnappers.

    There have been a string of kidnappings of oil workers recently in the Warri area, where impoverished fishing communities have increasingly turned to violence to settle their grievances.

    Local communities accuse oil companies and governments of giving them little except pollution for the riches pumped out of their land.

    Nigerian and foreign governments publicly deplore the payment of ransoms, but it has become standard practice for international companies operating in the volatile Niger delta, where most of the OPEC country's oil is produced.

    The region has seen an escalation of violence since March, when Ijaw youths launched an armed rebellion against ethnic rivals, security forces and oil multinationals.

    Local communities accuse oil companies and governments of giving them little except pollution for the riches pumped out of their land.

    Nigeria - the world's seventh largest oil exporter - sent 3000 police, soldiers and marines into the area around Warri in September after ethnic clashes left almost 100 dead.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.