An increase in the violence normally associated with "oil militants" in Nigeria- who ususally kidnap and hold hostages for ransom- reported here:
A British oil worker has been killed and an Italian seriously wounded during an attempt to free seven workers seized by Nigerian militants.
A Nigerian navy spokesman told the BBC that the remaining five foreign hostages had been rescued unharmed, while two militants were killed.
The hostages - two Finns, an Italian, a Filipino, a Briton, a Pole and a Romanian - worked for Italian firm Eni.
Hostages are usually freed unharmed, often after ransoms are paid.
The hostages were seized from a supply ship off the Niger Delta coast by 10 armed men on speedboats early on Wednesday morning.
Nigerian forces became involved in a shoot-out with the kidnappers during the rescue attempt.
"The Nigerian soldiers intercepted their ship and tried to free the people kidnapped," Gianni di Giovanni, a spokesman for Eni, told BBC News 24.
"In this situation, unfortunately, one of these colleagues was killed, and another was injured."
He said that all the rescued oil workers had now been taken to hospital in Port Harcourt.
One Nigerian solider was also killed during the operation, government and security officials told the Associated Press.