Express Oil Workers Kidnapped by 'Militant Youths' in Nigeria

Five oil workers have been abducted by "militant youths," reported The Guardian, a Nigerian news source.

Five Express Oil and Gas employees were taken Saturday offshore the state of Ondo of the Nigerian Delta by abductors protesting the "'insensitivity of the company to the plight of the host communities.'"

The Guardian reported that up to 60 youths belonging to the Express/Shebah Oil Communities swarmed the platform at the OML 108 Ukpakiti oil field. The armed mob used eight speed boats to surround the platform and force the five workers into submission.

The self-proclaimed leader of the group, Akikanju Olaiku, stated that "'serious harm will befall the victims if government and the oil company did not negotiate with us, because we are prepared for a long-drawn battle.'"

The workers, all Nigerian nationals, were said by the leader to be in good condition, despite the abduction.

While local Onda authorities say that they had not yet been informed of the events, the Chairman of the Implementation Committee of the Chevron/Ilaje communities Memorandum of Understanding Philemon Ebiesua told The Guardian that he had been instructed by Chevron to identify the kidnappers.

Ebiesua's committee has reportedly included the state government in the search and the "situation is under control 'as we have already got in touch with the youths and confirmed that the kidnapped workers are in good health and are being held in good condition.'"

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