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Seven Foreign Hostages Released in Nigeria


Nigerian police say kidnappers have released seven foreign oil workers who were seized during a raid in the Niger Delta almost three weeks ago.

Officials Saturday said the men were brought to Port Harcourt after their release and all are in good health. There had been unconfirmed reports that one of the men died while in captivity.

Nigerian authorities did not provide information about the terms of the hostages' release. Earlier this month, diplomatic sources said the kidnappers had demanded a ransom.

The oil contractors were kidnapped during a raid on an Exxon Mobil compound in Eket October 3. They are nationals of Britain, Romania, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Militants are demanding that Niger Delta communities get a greater share of the region's oil revenue. However, many of the recent kidnappings are believed to have been carried out strictly for ransom.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and normally pumps more than 2.5 million barrels per day. However, militant attacks have cut the country's production by at least 25 percent.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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