Nigeria

Nigerian troops free 19 hostages in Niger Delta

Reuters

Nineteen hostages have been freed in Nigeria's main oil-producing region after an operation by the country’s military. The hostages had been kidnapped in three separate incidents by militants in the Niger Delta earlier this month.

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Those released included two French, two Americans, two Indonesians, a Canadian and Nigerians.

"We've got confirmed reports that, yes, all 19 have been reported freed," a security sources said.

"It was a JTF operation," he added, referring to Nigeria's Joint Task Force, which includes police and military personnel.

A spokesman for a joint military and police force in the Niger Delta declined to provide details, saying only that an operation had been under way and a briefing would be held on Thursday.

Nigeria's main armed group the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or Mend, had claimed responsibility for kidnapping 14 of the hostages.

Eight of the hostages were believed taken in an attack this week on an ExxonMobil facility, while seven others were kidnapped last week in a raid on a support vessel and Transocean oil rig overseen by oil company Afren.

The remaining four were believed to be employees for Julius Berger taken in another incident.
 

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