The militant youths that hijacked two drill barges in Nigeria have agreed to free the oil workers taken hostage. The workers had been held hostage since Monday when armed youths invaded demanding jobs as security and catering personnel. Negotiations to secure their release initially broke down, but resumed when the hijackers agreed to free the captives. Shell refused demands for jobs and a ransom of 500,000 naira. Shell has agreed to meet their representatives on August 15 to address their grievances.

Protesters regularly sabotage pipeline installations and take hostages from oil companies to call attention to the lack of development and abject living conditions in the Niger Delta, where most of the country's oil is drilled. Although Nigeria is the world's sixth-largest oil producer, many residents of the delta live in desperate poverty. In recent years, oil companies have begun large-scale aid programs in the region, supplying large amounts of money for facilities such as schools and clinics.


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