Pirates release two abducted South Africans

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Flag of Nigeria

The two South Africans who were among the 22 oil workers abducted off a vessel by suspected pirates in Nigeria’s Niger Delta oil region last week were freed unharmed Tuesday, the Joint Task Force deployed to volatile region said. JTF Spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, said the two were released about 1800hrs local time. ”In line with JTF standing policy of not paying ransom, we are not aware if any ransom was paid for their release,” Musa said. The report did not say anything about the fate of the remaining 20 oil workers, who included three British and Ukrainian citizens and 17 Nigerians. The region’s largest militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), had said in an earlier statement Tuesday that it would free the South Africans, whom it claimed to have rescued from the pirates, following an appeal by the wife of its incarcerated leader, Henry Okah.

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