Crackdown on Nigeria's oil kidnappers

The Nigerian military launched a crackdown on suspected kidnappers in the oil-rich south on Friday as another foreign hostage was released.

    Nigeria is the fifth-largest supplier of crude

    Bletyn Wikina, a Rivers state official, said the German man was with Nigerian authorities and was unharmed.

    The man, whose name was not released, was snatched on August 3 from a makeshift checkpoint by gunmen wearing military fatigues.

    Wikina did not say if a ransom had been paid and it was unclear if the release was linked to a new campaign against those targeting foreign oil workers and the oil industry in the area.

    The campaign was announced by Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president, on Tuesday and military officials said it began on Friday.

    Gunfire

    Soldiers searched houses in the main Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt on Friday and detained at least five people.

    The soldiers fired into the air for at least an hour, causing panic in the streets.

    Sagir Musa, a military spokesman, said: "This is the beginning of something bigger to drive all the bandits from the state. It will continue. It is ongoing."

    Discontent

    A series of kidnappings have rocked Port Harcourt with 15 foreigners seized in the streets or taken from nightclubs over the past two weeks.

    Ten have been released unharmed but five remain unaccounted for.

    Attacks on the oil industry have cut Nigeria's daily oil production by nearly a quarter from its normal 2.6million barrels. The country is Africa's biggest oil exporter.

    Many Nigerians say the violence in the region stems from popular discontent over the portion of Nigeria's oil earnings that returns to their areas.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.