Three foreign sailors kidnapped by pirates in the oil-rich south of Nigeria last week have been rescued, the Nigerian Navy said Wednesday.
The three — two Russians and one Indian — were saved in an operation late Tuesday by a navy team in the southwestern coastal state of Ondo, spokesperson Suleman Dahun told AFP.
“The rescue happened yesterday around 11pm,” he said, adding that one of the hijackers had been arrested.
Separately, security sources said several pirates had been killed and operations were underway to seize the others.
Last Thursday, pirates raided an oil dredger, the MV Ambika, in the volatile waters of the Niger Delta.
In addition to kidnapping three foreigners on the vessel, they killed four naval personnel.
The waters off Nigeria have become among the most dangerous in the world for piracy.
In the first nine months of 2019, the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 82 percent of crew kidnappings around the world, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), which monitors crimes at sea.
Much of the problem is rooted in the Niger Delta where the vast oil wealth of Africa’s largest economy has failed to trickle down to local people and widespread poverty has stirred unrest.
Pirates emerge from the delta’s creeks and swamps in speedboats to raid passing ships, kidnap crews and spirit them back to Nigeria’s shores.
Abductions are still common despite increased naval patrols to tackle piracy along the country’s troubled waterways.AFP