MILITIA RELEASES FOUR FOREIGN OIL WORKERS

Four foreign oil workers held hostage by a militia in southern Nigeria for more than two weeks were released today, a regional government spokesman said.

“They have been released,” said Ekiyor Welson, spokesman for the regional Bayelsa state government. “They are now with the governor,” he added. Welson said the four men – an American, a Briton, a Bulgarian and a Honduran – were currently at the state government headquarters. No further details were immediately available. The oil workers were captured by armed gunmen at a Shell offshore oil rig on Jan. 11. The previously unknown militia group that abducted them, the Movement for the Emancipation of the People of the Niger Delta, originally said it would only release them if the government freed two detained leaders of the ethnic Ijaw group. The hostages were released, however, without this condition being met.

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