World News

Canadian abducted from Nigerian oil rig

4 June 2006 at 03:36 | 676 views

The unnamed Canadian, six Britons and an American were abducted when 20 to 30 armed men in speedboats attacked the drilling rig Bulford Dolphin(photo) at about 3 a.m., the company, Fred. Olsen Energy ASA, said in a news release.

The exploration rig is located about 64 kilometres off the southern coast of Nigeria, where it was operating for a Nigerian oil company called Peak Petroleum.

Fred. Olsen Energy has been in contact with the kidnappers, whom it said want to negotiate with representatives of Peak Petroleum.

Nigerian authorities said they had no information about the kidnappers or what they might want.

"No group has claimed responsibility and no demands have been made," said Nigerian police spokesman Haz Iwendi, the Associated Press reported.

"Security agencies are trailing them to secure the release of the hostages as soon as possible."

Iwendi said the attack occurred near the Dodo River, in the country’s oil-rich southern delta.

Work was stopped at the rig following the attack. Workers who remained there are safe and were being encouraged to call their families, Fred. Olsen Energy said.

The deputy high commissioner in Lagos is aware of the abduction and is in contact with local authorities, said a Foreign Affairs spokesman in Ottawa.

Abductions, either by militant groups or by kidnappers seeking money, have been common in the southern delta region in recent years.

A group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has been carrying out a campaign of attacks and abductions. Their actions have cut Nigeria’s oil exports by a quarter.

The militant group usually claims responsibility for its attacks within minutes, but there was no immediate word from the group following Friday’s abductions.

Source: CBC News