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Nigerian army sends boats to find kidnapped expats

AP  |  Warri (Nigeria) 

Nigerian security personnel have stepped up efforts to rescue three kidnapped foreigners, including an Indian, in the oil-rich Niger Delta, a military official has said.

Colonel Anka Mustapha told The Associated Press that he's confident that the foreign construction workers will soon be rescued because of a heightened security presence that involves sending patrol boats into the region's remote creeks, rivers and swampy mangroves.

The two Pakistanis and Indian were abducted Wednesday night in the town of Emakalakala, which is in the southern coastal state of Bayelsa, by gunmen operating on speedboats. Recent activities in the Niger Delta have left communities on edge.

Three police officers were killed in October after their boat, which was escorting a load of oil for the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, was hijacked by pirates on the Barbara River in Bayelsa.

Six Nigerian oil company workers were also kidnapped in October.

Piracy and kidnapping in Nigeria's oil-rich region, aimed at oil theft and kidnapping for ransom, has cost the nation some USD 131 million over the past three years, according to the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer and has the biggest economy on the continent.

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First Published: Sat, November 29 2014. 14:35 IST