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Nigerian Officials Say Kidnapped Lebanese Oil Worker is Free

Nigerian officials say hostage-takers have released a Lebanese oil worker who was abducted two weeks ago.

A government spokesman says the man was freed unharmed Friday. Details of the circumstances leading up to his release were not immediately available.

The Lebanese worker was kidnapped August 16 in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region, where kidnappings of foreign oil workers are common.

Militant groups behind many, if not all, of the abductions have been pressing for local communities to receive a greater share of the Niger Delta's oil wealth. However, many recent kidnappings are believed to have been done mainly for ransom money.

Nigeria's military recently began a crackdown in the Delta in an effort to restore security.

Militant attacks this year have cut the country's oil output by an estimated 20 percent.

Prior to the spate of attacks, the west African nation produced some 2.6 millions barrel of oil per day.

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