Nigerian military prepares to hand over oil hostages

Officials from foreign and local oil and construction firms gathered at an air force base in the Nigerian oil hub Port Harcourt on Thursday for the handover of 19 hostages freed by the security forces.

Nigeria’s military rescued the hostages, including seven foreigners, from militant camps in the creeks of the Niger Delta in a land, air and sea operation on Wednesday, security sources said.

Those freed included two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians and a Canadian taken from an Afren oil rig, eight Nigerians abducted from an Exxon Mobil platform and four Nigerian employees of local construction firm Julius Berger.

Several of the hostages, who appeared to be in good health and were dressed in T-shirts and trousers, were eating breakfast in a canteen at the air force base as officials from their companies arrived, a Reuters witness said.

“The operation lasted until about 3.00 am this morning. It was a joint effort involving the air force, army, navy, police and state security service,” said a military officer involved in the operation who declined to be named.

The release of the hostages is a boost for President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of elections next April.

As the first Nigerian head of state from the Niger Delta and the man who brokered an amnesty with militants in the region last year, resurgent unrest risked undermining his credibility.

The military taskforce responsible for security in the vast wetlands region, the heartland of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, said it carried out several operations simultaneously across the Niger Delta on Wednesday but has given no details.

It is expected to hold a briefing later.

Afren confirmed on Thursday that the seven contractors taken from its rig had been released unharmed. France’s Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has also confirmed that two of its nationals had been released. — Reuters

Advertisting

Hosni Mubarak is dead, but the Egypt he built is...

Despite the efforts of the Arab Spring, Egypt is still led by a military dictatorship made in Mubarak’s image

Inside the Security Branch: Torture between brandy and boerewors

A former SB operative, Paul Erasmus, talks about the torture of a young trade unionist, Neil Aggett, and the machinations at John Vorster Square
Advertising

Press Releases

South Africa’s education system is broken and unequal, and must be fixed without further delay

The Amnesty International report found that the South African government continues to miss its own education upgrading targets

Business travel industry generates billions

Meetings Africa is ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity

Conferences connect people to ideas

The World Expo and Meetings Africa are all about stimulating innovation – and income

SAB Zenzele Kabili B-BBEE share scheme

New scheme to be launched following the biggest B-BBEE FMCG payout in South Africa’s history

TFSAs are the gymnasts of the retirement savings world

The idea is to get South Africans to save, but it's best to do your research first to find out if a TFSA is really suited to your needs

Achieving the litmus test of social relevance

The HSS Awards honours scholarly works based on their social relevance and contribution to the humanities and social sciences

Making sense of tax-free savings and investment

Have you made the most of your tax-free investment contributions?

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.