Whereabouts of released hostages unknown to Nigerian officials

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A military spokesman has said that he does not know the whereabouts of the Nigerian hostages whom the Niger Delta militants said were released on Sunday, raising concerns about their purported release.

“As far as we are concerned, we have not seen anybody,” said Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, spokesman for the military task force deployed to Rivers state in the oil producing Niger Delta region, said Monday.

The main militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said in a statement e-mailed to the media Sunday that the Nigerians hostages, whom they rescued from the pirates who abducted them along with five foreigners in the state 9 September, had been freed unharmed.

Some 22 Nigerians, two South Africans, two Britons and one Ukrainian were abducted from a vessel in Rivers by suspected pirates last month.

MEND said it was still holding on to the two Britons and 1 Ukrainian due to ‘security concerns’ over where they were being kept, while the two South Africans were released late last month.

There is no love lost between MEND and the military task force, and both regularly trade verbal jabs over such issues as hostage release and military/militant attack claims. Panapress .

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