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Nigerian Militants Release Five Chinese Workers


China's Foreign Ministry says five Chinese nationals kidnapped in southern Nigeria earlier this month have been freed.

The ministry posted a notice to its website Thursday saying the hostages were rescued on Wednesday.

Gunmen abducted the five telecommunication workers January fifth from their rented apartment in Nigeria's volatile Niger Delta region.

Earlier today, Nigerian militants released one of three Italians seized in the oil-rich delta last month.

The Italian foreign ministry says Roberto Dieghi was released Thursday.

The Italians and one Lebanese national were captured from an oil export terminal by a local militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

The militants say Dieghi was in poor health and was released after negotiations with the Bayelsa State government. The group says it will keep the remaining hostages indefinitely.

Kidnappings and attacks on oil facilities are common in the Niger Delta, where militant groups are demanding the government give a greater share of oil revenue to impoverished local communities.

The attacks have cut Nigeria's oil output by some 20 percent over the last year.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says it had nothing to do with an attack near an oil terminal Tuesday that left two Nigerians and a Dutch national dead.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters

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