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Nigerian Militants Release Kidnapped Lebanese Oil Worker


Officials say Nigerian militants have released a Lebanese oil worker who has been held hostage since December in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Italy's foreign ministry confirmed the release of the worker Wednesday, but offered few other details.

The man was kidnapped along with three Italian co-workers on December 7, during an attack on an export terminal run by the Italian oil company Agip.

One of the three Italian hostages was released last month.

In the past year, gunmen in the Niger Delta have launched numerous attacks on oil facilities and seized more than 100 hostages, most of them foreign oil workers. Most of the hostages have been released unharmed.

The militants say they are trying to direct a larger share of oil revenue and jobs to villages in the impoverished region.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer. The country pumped about 2.6 million barrels a day until last year. However, the militant activities in the Niger Delta have, at times, cut production by almost 25 percent.

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

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