Nigeria Militants Take German Oil Worker Hostage

LAGOS, Aug 03, 2006, (AP)

Militants in Nigeria took a German oil industry worker hostage on Thursday in the country's troubled oil-rich delta region, a police spokeswoman said.

The German man was snatched from his jeep as he traveled to work in southeastern Rivers State, said Ireju Barasua, the state's police spokesman. The man worked for a construction company called Bilfinger Berger Gas and Oil Services Ltd., an affiliate of German construction giant Julius Berger Nigeria PLC (JBERGER.LA), which had been contracted to help build facilities for an international oil company, Barasua said.

No other details were immediately available.

"We are combing the place to locate the victim," Barasua said.

Attacks on oil pipelines and kidnappings by militants in the country's southern Niger Delta have cut oil production by more than 20% this year, adding to the upward pressure on world prices.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and normally produces about 2.5 million barrels per day.

Militants have kidnapped oil workers to bargain for a greater share of the wealth from Africa's largest crude producer. They argue residents remain deeply impoverished, benefiting little from oil wealth while government officials and oil companies grow rich.

Some militant groups have asked for money and others for freedom for imprisoned comrades. Most of the kidnappings have ended peacefully.

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