Nigeria: November 21, 2003


Another instance of hostage-taken ended badly for the Ijaw pirates, which may mean that the Nigerian government has gotten fed up handing out concessions. The navy stormed ChevronTexaco's Middleton and Pennington oil platforms, freed all fourteen employees and arrested 30 hostage takers. The pirates (calling themselves ``Bini-Oru Security'') were armed with automatic weapons and hand grenades, submachine guns and AK-47 rifles. They used the creeks in the swampy waters leading to the flow station undetected.

Four other workers were released by their captors late on the 19th, but nothing is known about the fate of a number of others. In another incident on the same day, two naval officers were kidnapped and the Nigerian navy dispatched a warship to the remote area of the Niger delta. 

Armed members of the Ijaw community attacked the two oil platforms in the southern Niger delta region on the 18th, and took eighteen Nigerians hostage (four were later released). The hostage takers had a laundry list of demands, all financially related. Meanwhile, the seizure of the platforms would cost Nigeria about $290 million in income daily.

Last week, a group from the same community took employees of ChevronTexaco hostage for a short time. - Adam Geibel


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