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Nigerian Militants Release British Hostage


Nigeria's main militant group has released a British hostage held for seven months. Military officials say the hostage, identified as Robin Barry Hughes, was handed over to authorities on Sunday.

Earlier, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militants said in an e-mail that they would release the hostage soon because of health and age considerations. The militant group said no ransom was paid for his release.

Hughes was among some 25 oil workers kidnapped by militants last September when their vessel was hijacked.

The militants released the other workers but held onto Hughes and another British man, Matthew John Maguire. The militants say Maguire will remain in their custody.

Kidnappings and other attacks are frequent in Nigeria's restive, oil-producing Niger Delta region. However, the two Britons' captivity is unusually long for foreign hostages in Nigeria.

MEND says impoverished residents should get more of the region's oil wealth. The government calls the militants "criminals."

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

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