MEND locates kidnapped French oil workers

2010-09-24
THE PUNCH Newspaper- Chukwudi Akasike

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said, on Thursday, that it had begun negotiation with the kidnappers of three abducted foreign oil workers on Wednesday.

MEND in an electronic mail explained that it had also located the whereabouts of the abducted expatriates.

The three unnamed French oil workers, were abducted at an offshore oilfield, off the coast of Bonny by unknown gunmen.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta can confirm that it has located the three abducted French nationals and another individual abducted in a separate incident on the same night.

“We are in negotiations with the abductors towards effecting a transfer of the men to the custody of MEND. When this is done, we will be in a better position to give further information about their state of health and the duration of their stay with us,” MEND said in the mail sent by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo.

Reacting to MEND’s claim, Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force, Lieutenant-Colonel Timothy Antigha, told our correspondent that the JTF was not working directly with the militant group.

Antigha pointed out that the military task force had always carried out its functions independent of any militant group.

He said he could not comment further on the issue since the kidnap of the three French nationals did not take place within the JTF’s area of operations.

“We are not working directly with MEND and therefore cannot comment on their claim about their purported location of the three expatriates kidnapped yesterday (Wednesday).

“Our operations are within Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States. If anything happen within these areas, we are always there to take appropriate action,” Antigha maintained.

But the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Rita Inoma-Abbey, said she was not aware of the incident, adding that the abduction of the foreign oil workers might have taken place elsewhere outside the state.

Inoma-Abbey explained that the command had called other security agencies over the matter, but that none of them was aware of the incident.

 

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