Two Russians and an Indian, crew members of an oil tanker kidnapped last week by pirates off the Nigerian coast, have been released, the Nigerian navy announced on Wednesday.
The three were rescued on Tuesday evening in the southern coastal state of Ondo, local naval spokesman Suleman Dahun told AFP.
« The rescue took place yesterday at around 11:00 pm, » he said, adding that one of the pirates had been arrested. Security sources speaking on condition of anonymity assured that several pirates had been killed and that operations were under way to arrest the others responsible for the attack last week.
On January 2, gunmen boarded the oil dredger MV Ambika while it was moored off the Niger Delta. In addition to the kidnapping, the pirates also killed four members of the Nigerian navy.
The waters off Nigeria are among the most dangerous in the world and boat attacks and kidnappings are relatively frequent: pirates sometimes hijack ships for several days, time to loot the holds, and demand large ransoms before to release the crew.
For the first nine months of last year, the International Maritime Bureau, the international body for safety at sea, recorded 82% of the kidnappings of crews worldwide off the Gulf of Guinea.
Many attacks emanate from the Niger Delta region, where the immense oil wealth of the first African economy has never benefited local populations and where widespread poverty has generated many frustrations, causing crime to explode.