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Pakistani Hostage Released in Nigeria's Oil-Rich South

Authorities in Nigeria say kidnappers have released a Pakistani construction worker who was taken hostage one month ago in the oil-rich delta region.

The kidnappers seized the man in late July from Bodo city in southern Nigeria's Rivers state. The victim has been working for an Italian firm building a road in the area.

Bodo is plagued by gang violence, while kidnappings have become a major problem in the Niger Delta.

More than 200 foreign workers have been abducted from the oil-producing region since the end of 2005.

Some abductions are the work of criminal gangs seeking ransom, while others have been carried out by militants demanding that local villages get more of the region's oil wealth.

Most Niger Delta residents are impoverished, despite the billions of dollars the government and oil companies reap from oil production.

Unrest in the region has reduced Nigeria's total oil output by 25 percent since early last year.