icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
8 Aug, 2007 19:05

Russia paid no ransom for released hostages in Nigeria

Six Russian nationals abducted in Nigeria in June have been set free. They were handed over to security officials in the city of Port Harcourt in the south-east of the country. Five of the captives are employed by the Russian aluminum company Rusal.

An ordeal comes to an end. Freedom at last for the six Russian citizens, after more than two months in captivity.

“They are all alive and well, and we are expecting them to return home soon. On behalf of the company, I would like to express our gratitude to the Russian and Nigerian state security organisations for the effective joint efforts on releasing our staff who were held hostage. There was no ransom paid and no other conditions were made,” noted Vera Kurochkina from the Rusal company press service.

Five workers of the Rusal-owned aluminum plant and one of their relatives were kidnapped on June 3. Armed militants stormed the workers’ compound. They forced their way into their victims’ apartment blasting through the door. A Nigerian driver was killed. The release of the four men and two women was secured by the Russian and Nigerian officials.

“The rescue operation was carried out directly by the Nigerian authorities and by the Russian Embassy in Lagos with the anti-terrorist committee of the Russian Federation and the representative of the Rusal aluminium company. Moscow highly values the constructive efforts of the Nigerian authorities and is very grateful for their co-operation in settling the problem,” Boris Malakhov, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said.

Nigeria is rich in oil and mineral resources. But the country’s industrial hub – the south-east delta region – is known for being unsafe for foreign workers. Unrest is fuelled by poverty and corruption. Foreign employees have become a regular target for militant groups in the area seeking control over the delta's resources and looking for a ransom. More than a hundred have been captured since the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, Doctor Bashir Obasekola, President General of the Nigerian community in Russia, says the foreigners are kidnapped in Nigeria because its people want to draw attention of the world to the region’s predicament.

The hostage’s ordeal is now over. Rusal officials say despite the incident they don’t intend to re-think their business plans in Nigeria. But they insist that measures will be taken to ensure their workers’ security.