Six of nine foreign oil workers being held by militants in Nigeria's southern delta were released by their captors on Wednesday, local officials said.More show from the"militants" for the media. Seems to be right out of the terrorist handbook... "Now, if we were really bad people, you be getting ears back..." So the press will be sympathetic.
The militants, whose campaign of kidnap and sabotage in the oil-producing Niger Delta has already crippled a fifth of output from the world's eighth largest crude exporter, warned of further, bigger attacks.
The six hostages released -- one American, two Egyptians, two Thais and a Filipino -- were freed after 11 days in captivity in the jungle swamps of the delta.
This left two U.S. nationals and one Briton still in the hands of militants of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which carried out the kidnapping.
"I feel great ... In the next few days, I will be going home to visit the family. That was a happy birthday present," American Macon Hawkins, who turned 69 on Wednesday, told Reuters after his release.
Hawkins, who is from Kosciusko, Texas, and suffers from diabetes, was freed to U.S. and British journalists, while the other five were released to Nigerian authorities in a separate operation.
The foreign oil workers had all been abducted on February 18 from a boat operated by U.S. oil services company Willbros.
"This was a humanitarian gesture," the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said in a statement.
But it added the release of the remaining two Americans and one Briton was "not contemplated in the near future."
Wednesday, March 01, 2006